The Aftershock Of COVID


Senior, Alexis Dorsett ,and teacher, Drew Hemesath, both experience long lasting COVID-19 symptoms.

Alexis Dorsett, Newspaper Editor

COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives greatly throughout the last two years, but months later after a positive test, some people are still living with the side effects. 

Scientists have done studies to determine the likely symptoms a person may experience while having COVID-19. These symptoms may include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, notes that this list is not all possible COVID-19 symptoms, but common ones. Some symptoms that a person should seek emergency medical care immediately include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds depending on a person’s skin tone. 

The main symptoms of COVID-19 tend to disappear after 2-14 days of exposure. However, there are long term symptoms from COVID-19 that are still impacting people today. The CDC states on their website, “Post-COVID-19 conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Even people who did not have COVID-19 symptoms in the days or weeks after they were infected can have post-COVID-19 conditions. These conditions can have different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time.” Since the post-COVID-19 conditions vary widely in each individual person, it is hard to reduce the list of possible symptoms and to say every possibility. The CDC’s list of possible new or ongoing symptoms after COVID-19 include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, tiredness or fatigue, symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities, difficulty thinking or concentrating, cough, chest or stomach pain, headache, fast-beating or pounding heart, joint or muscle pain, pins-and-needles feeling, diarrhea, sleep problems, fever, dizziness on standing, rash, mood changes, changes in smell or taste, or changes in menstrual cycle. 

Drew Hemesath, North Polk English Teacher, tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-July 2020. His experience was not like most people who had COVID-19. He shared “I didn’t really feel sick, but I definitely felt off and could tell something wasn’t right with my body. I was a bit weaker and got lightheaded from time to time.” Although he did not have some of the most common symptoms, he did lose the ability to taste and smell for about five weeks. He tried to eat garlic, vinegar, fish sauce, and any other potent things he could think of, but could not taste or smell anything at all. 

When his taste and smell began to come back, Hemesath shared, “It was an incredibly slow process. For about six months afterwards, flavorful foods and drinks packed as much of a punch as LaCroix. My full sense of taste and smell didn’t return until late winter/early spring of 2021, and it came back in slow, tiny increments.” Fortunately, Hemesath can now smell and taste like he did before COVID-19. 

Unlike Hemesath, Grace Smithey lost her smell and taste for a short period of time. She shared that she “got really weak and had lots of dizzy spells” while she had COVID. Luckily for Smithey the amount of time COVID-19 personally affected her was very limited after testing positive in February. 

In my personal experience, COVID-19 has been impacting my life for around six months. I tested positive at the start of March and lost my smell completely, but not my taste. In a previous article on “The Orbit,” my experience of being symptomatic with COVID-19 was shared. Now, months later, I am still having post-COVID-19 side effects. I currently cannot smell, However, I believe it is trying to come back. Sometimes I can smell certain things, but not the same way I remembered it smelling like. Personally, whenever I smell a flower-like or a fruity scent it smells very unpleasant, but I still cannot smell body odor or trash. 

Lastly, Hemesath shared “It’s important to be mindful of other people’s experiences, regardless of your own. I was fortunate to not have any health complications, but my sister still has abrasions on her lungs from COVID-19, and I have friends who lost family members to COVID-19. It would be easy for me to dismiss COVID-19 because my health wasn’t in jeopardy, but that would be a selfish response considering how much it has ravaged the lives of others. Don’t wait to be impacted to take precautions.”