People Who've Recovered from COVID-19 Explain What It Was Like

If you clicked on this article hoping to use it to support some sort of agenda, I hate to admit it but you're probably going to be disappointed.

When one Reddit user asked people to talk about their personal experiences suffering with COVID-19, they probably had no idea that they'd highlight one of the most perplexing aspects of our current pandemic. People's experiences are wildly different.

Some breezed through it practically without knowing they were sick. Others legitimately feared for their lives or stayed sick for so long that it started affecting their mental health as well as their physical wellbeing.

Obviously those who have lost their battles with this pandemic aren't exactly available to hang out on Reddit.

Faking It For Family

I had it in early April, probably from working at a quarantine facility where we didn't have enough PPE.

Loss of smell was my only symptom for a few days. Then mild productive cough. Then fatigue, body aches, and trouble breathing. Never had a fever, indigestion, etc.

The scariest part was that at that point, no one knew how to manage it. My doctor had zero advice other than rest and fluids. Didn't know what meds to avoid, expected progression, nothing.

My family and friends checked in a lot. They freaked out if I acted too sick, so I pretended my symptoms were much more mild than they were. I only shared my real symptoms with my partner and my doctor. In that regard, it was very lonely.

Difficulty breathing lasted about 5 days, then started to get better. Fatigue was the last symptom to disappear, it lingered about 10 days after I'd tested negative.

I'm 25, an EMT, and was working reduced hours when I got exposed. No pre-existing conditions.

- StalwartQuail

Participating In A Study

sick 1980s tv GIF by absurdnoiseGiphy

Our family had it, including two toddlers.

Toddlers: mild symptoms - mostly low grade fever. Recovered in a couple days.

Wife: fever, fatigue, loss of smell. Recovered in about a week.

Me: worse symptoms - prolonged fever, headaches, hallucinations, sweats, indigestion, general soreness. About 4 straight days of harsh conditions. Recovered in about 2 weeks.

I'm going to try to answer some questions:

  1. Yes, we were all tested multiple times. Our toddlers are 2 and 4 and due to the rareness of children contracting COVID, they are participating in a study about COVID in children. As an FYI to parents - watching your children get tested is NOT fun and my kids have been through it several times.
  2. Tough to describe my hallucinations, but I would have to say it was like I was daydreaming. I used to do drugs and it's nothing like that. Fever chills would interrupt it sometimes.
  3. My wife and I are in our mid 40s and relatively healthy. Neither one of us experienced breathing issues.
  4. My wife got her sense of smell back about a week after her negative test. She mentioned she could smell our daughter's farts.
  5. I don't know our blood types.
  6. I work from home full time and my kids stay home full time. My wife works from home mostly, but she does go to various hospitals a few times a week (she works in construction as a PM -- a.k.a. she builds hospitals). We're pretty sure she got at one of them.
  7. My wife got it first, then me, then both kids together. We don't smoke, drink, do drugs ( I used to) and are fairly healthy (work out at the gym and swim several times a week). The doctor said our healthy lifestyle probably helped.
  8. We do not have any lingering symptoms. We have all been tested for the antibodies and have donated blood (and our kids' bodies) to help with the recovery efforts.
  9. IDK what else to say except COVID is very real and can fck you up no matter your age. Stay safe people.
- doubleflusher

When The Doctors Get Sick

Initially dry cough.

Worsened with a high grade fever

Loss of taste and smell.

Difficulty breathing, had to go to the ED twice

Improvement only after 12 days.

Post illness shortness if breath and 5kg weight loss

I am a 33 year old Male doctor in Ireland. I was fairly overweight and had low T symptoms prior to this and had been on the Keto diet and exercise. I had prior to this lost weight intentionally. The hospital I worked in had a poor response to the pandemic with inadequate and improper PPEs.

This led to a HUGE number of medical personnel(and their families) getting COVID-19. Believe me we were pissed at the administration of the hospital.

I developed symptoms rather innocuously with a dry cough. The next day my wife also had the same symptoms. I got tested a few days afterwards and we both were positive. We were contacted by occupational health and surprisingly were told to isolate from each other, the reason being is that we 'may' have different strains of the virus. So I was in one room of my house and my wife in another.

We were both told to come to the hospital immediately if we had shortness of breath or worsening of symptoms. Twice in the space of five days I had trouble catching my breath at rest. The thing about the virus is that the breathlessness feels like you sprinted till exhaustion and are catching your breath...but you can't really. I felt this after a FEW steps and it is truly terrifying. Despite being a doctor and handling shortness of breath regularly, nothing prepares you for actually feeling it.

Both times I immediately told my wife that I'm going to the hospital possibly for some oxygen and nebulizers. Thankfully with normal pulse oximetry readings and chest auscultations I didn't need either. But I had Xray changes showing Pneumonia in my right lung and was told to take antibiotics (at that time hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for five days). I only took azithromycin as being a doctor I was concerned with potential side effects of the hydroxychloroquine.

One thing that scared me a lot was talk of the death rates. Even though I am a Doctor and the death rate compared to number of people infected was low, I still would think 'what if'. TBH when I was on my way to the emergency both times with shortness of breath I was fearing it getting worse and thought I could have died. Even afterwards I was frightened of getting worse a third time.

I rested a lot, drank plenty of water and avoided fizzy drinks. I stopped the Keto diet and focused on eating whatever I could to get energy, but I had a loss of appetite and the famous taste and smell loss. It is a strange side effect, it starts gradually and lasted for about four days before it gradually and completely resolved. You all would be surprised at the texture of many foods (some foods being 'sticky', 'sandy or coat the roof of your mouth quality). I couldn't believe how bad pizza and chicken tenders could be with this.

Throughout my infection I had a fever in excess of 37.5C(99.5F) for 12-13 days! It is so draining along with the cough. Initially it was dry but as i was recovering i would cough up flecks of pinkish purplish stuff in off white sputum. The cough itself lasted for five weeks and shortness of breath a week or so longer. But me and my wife thankfully are better, healthier and fully recovered. I haven't really noted any loss of stamina or weakness.

About my wife having COVID, she had mild symptoms in comparison to me and recovered quicker. None the less I was more concerned about her condition and would auscultate her (yeah I didn't listen to the occupational health about total Isolation, I wore a mask!) at intervals. The isolation from each other IMO was unnecessary and added to our stress.

I also was angry at the hospital I worked at for what had happened and how 70 of my colleagues were affected (yes 70 staff members!). The healthy staff members were severely overworked and at their breaking point. The worst part was that our administration started to call some of us back after a week of symptom onset! They didn't care at all, they just wanted the institute to run, even if it killed us. I thank God nobody out of us died. Naturally the ill will amongst us all remained and in a few months, en masse, 24 doctors from the department of medicine gave notices. They could only replace half of the number, quite frankly THEY DESERVED IT.

- moretime86

So. Much. Sh*t. 

I sht my pants twice over three weeks. Then I sht five times a day, at least.

Dizzy, nausea, wake up to choking cough like trying to vomit, lasted a few hours each day.

That's it for me.

- fastermouse

Chalk up one more for the pants sh*tting club. It was crazy.

My wife and I got her 80+ year old parents a long pacific cruise last Christmas. They left in January and we picked them up from the airport in early March. They were both coughing a lot. They stayed with us until they felt good enough to go home.

Her dad (had 3 preexisting conditions) ended up in the hospital with an initial pneumonia diagnosis but never went on a ventilator. Tested positive. Her Mom had a cough and headache. Also tested positive.

Mid March, my wife, my kids, and I, all got a bad headache for a few days. We were all really dizzy on the third day.

They all recovered quickly, but I had the only case that evolved into 2 weeks of constant constant sh*tting. I don't know where it came from. I was convinced my body was extracting sh*t from the air.

- donttrustthisguy111

May Need A New Career

I tested positive 23rd of June. I'm still not back to work. I work in thermoforming, with a factory with no air conditioning. My doctor refuses to approve me to go back. I can't walk around for more than an hour without being sopping wet from sweat. Before covid, I worked 12 hr shifts in some heavy heat, that building could get over 100 degrees easily.

Started out with a cough, then got SOOO much worse. Runny nose, high fever, coughing, mucus with blood. Felt like my chest was being caved in, and legs and arms felt so weak. Actually sh*t the bed a couple of times because I literally couldn't move.

Became dehydrated, and vomited and passed out. Woke up at the hospital covid ICU wing. The covid had advanced to pneumonia. About 60% of right lung was filled with fluid pockets, left about 40%. Loaded down with antibiotics and oxygen. Got released 3 days later thankfully.

My cough still had not stopped. It's gotten better, but I still have fits where I can't catch my breath. I now have to use an inhaler and tessalon perles. I can taste most things again, but majority of my smell is still gone. I have to go on Friday for a stress test, my heart isn't right. While I was at the hospital, my heart started to pause while I was sleeping or something like that. Can't work, running out of savings.

If anyone knows any desk jobs in Charlotte, hook me up! I don't know if I'll actually be able to go back to work in my factory at all right now, and we need paychecks.

Y'all I'm high 20s in age.

- DarthScab

Pretty Mild

Male, 30, no pre existing conditions or other significant risk factors.

Day 1: slight sore throat and a little coughing in the morning, couldn't really ever "wake up" from the morning.

Day 2-4: fatigue, body aches, headache that made it hard to process information, pretty mild respiratory symptoms.

Day 5-7: slight fatigue

Day 7-10: no symptoms

I had a very mild case

- RedditAtWork2019

The Smell Of My Pillow

I had it in mid march (New York Resident) and am fine now.

First 3 days (Friday-Sunday) I had extremely mild symptoms. My throat just didn't seem quite right. I was sneezing due to the window's breeze more easily than I should have, since it was too early for allergy season. I also inhaled the water I was drinking multiple times over the weekend. I noticed, but thought I was being paranoid.

Day 4 (Monday), they sent everyone home to work from home at around noon. I waited in a crowded grocery line (since this was the day they started limiting how many people could enter). Around 3 hours later it had clearly spread to my lungs from the upper respiratory track. I could feel the fluid in my lungs. My breathing wasn't steady (felt like sandpaper rubbing on sandpaper) and it was clear I was sick.

I started coughing up sputum on day 5 (Tuesday). I'd cough once, clear the fluid from my lungs and breath normally, and then it'd slowly get worse over the course of an hour until I coughed again. Repeat.

Day 6 (Wednesday): Fever. This was the first day I actually felt sick. You know normal fever symptoms, fever, muscle aches, sweating, etc.. I called out sick (remember working from home at this point anyways).

Day 8 (Friday): Was feeling better. Halfway between better and sick,. I resumed working.

Day 9 (Saturday): Woke up to the smell of my pillow, and was promptly weirded out. I didn't notice when my small/taste disappeared, but I definitely noticed it came back... Everything from my pillow, my shirt, the wooden table, etc. smelt. It wouldn't be for another week or two before the loss of sense of smell/taste symptom was discovered so I had no idea what was going on at the time. Anyways, at this point I felt better again.

Day 10+: A bit of coughing persisted for a couple days after that, but I felt healthy again. I never even came close to needing to be hospitalized, though, so lucky me.

- dubanx

Pool Water

pizza pool GIF by Party Down SouthGiphy

Fever, terrible headaches, sore eyes, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and loss of smell. Also had this weird burning sensation in my nose (similar to when you get pool water up your nose).

- art123456789101112

How Long Every Day Felt

Girlfriend and I both [25 y/o] tested positive for COVID in late March. No pre existing conditions, we are both in excellent shape and eat healthy as well.

I was sick for 28 days straight. Longest most taxing illness of my life.

Over that time I had 3 different rounds of fevers and couldn't get out of bed for most days.

The thing about Covid was just how long every single day felt. There was a couple times I felt so sick I wasn't sure if I was going to make it.

My girlfriend was sick for a solid 10-12 days but was not nearly as ill as I was.

I had fully lost my sense of smell from Covid. Until 2 weeks ago when I fell 6 feet and got a severe concussion.. my sense of smell returned. Crazy and makes no sense to me, but I am incredibly thankful to be able to smell trees and flowers and food.. man!

Anyways, now we both have antibodies and are feeling back to strength. We ran 27 miles this past Saturday.

- ouijib

COVID Improved Things

My response might get buried ... but I had these warts attacking my hands and fingers for years. Lasers, freezing, squaric acid, all kinds of stuff... nothing worked. Then I caught COVID in March, I was sick for two weeks... stomach problems... persistent cough... my running ability was impacted clearly for a while... but whatever happened in my body literally killed every wart I had. So I am in the minority in saying COVID definitely helped me.

My derm was very clear with me when I first met him about treatment. He's like "We can freeze these and use lasers, but you need to know that this exists because your immune system is not fighting it off like it should". Maybe the Covid kicked everything into high gear and my immune system got the picture?? All I know is I can tap my fingertip on a table, it doesn't hurt anymore, and I can't believe they're gone. It's like a second chance to have hands

- ManThatIsFcked

None Of The Same Symptoms

I felt like I had the flu and only got tested because of the pandemic. My flu-like symptoms lasted 3 days before I recovered but I've had no sense of smell for over a month

I had my daughter tested when my results came back positive and hers did as well. She, however, never developed so much as a low-grade fever

My girlfriend tested positive also, but her primary symptom was headaches

As someone who has had the flu twice and the swine flu once, either of those were much worse for me.

- Stinkietwinky

Terrified Of Getting Sick Again

Started off with a cough and then progressed to fatigue, chills, dizziness, and a mess of other symptoms I can't even remember. I never had a fever nor did I lose my sense of smell/taste.

The thing that was the hardest to deal with was the fatigue. I would debate drinking water because that meant I would have to walk to the bathroom (I have a bathroom connected to my bedroom).

It took about two weeks to recover although my cough hasn't gone away. Overall, it was awful. I'm terrified of getting sick again.

- FiboMath

Both me and my girlfriend had it. She got it first and then I got it like a couple of days later. It started with the throat not feeling right. And eventually I got a relatively mild fever. The worst part was probably the feeling that you're breathing, but your body is only getting like 70% of the oxygen it needs. Its not that I can't breathe, its just that it doesn't satisfy my body, if that makes sense.

I got all better approx. a little more than a week later. Then when I went back to work and was picking up a box of bananas to move them, my body reacted to it like I had been running on the tracks for an hour. I was beat after like one box. I move another, and I'm so tired I wanna lie down.

I told my boss I couldn't work because my body was exhausted when doing any physical work. 2 weeks after that day and I was all better.

But... something is different. I don't know if it's that my antihistamines are less effective or what it is, but sometimes it feels like I have something in my airways that needs to be cleaned or something. Like I want to cough it out cause its blocking the pipes, but its so far down, coughing doesn't help.

And also, I've had a brain fog every once in a while. More than usual. When it happens, it's like how you feel when the weed's worn off, but there's some of it in your body still. That kind of fog.

- SirMooncake


Got tested only because in March upon arriving home from school 10 of my 12 roommates tested positive. I was positive but didn't even know I had it. I had some weird red bumps/dots on my toes that later became a known symptom but at the time I had no idea it was a result of COVID.

Also lost my sense of taste, but again did not know that was a symptom until after I had already recovered. I am 22 and know a lot of people my age who have tested positive, or after the fact positive on the antibody test and my experience is pretty similar with all of theirs as well

- That_guy898

120 Days Later

120+ days later and I'm still experiencing extreme fatigue, random gastro issues, heart palpitations, aches and pains, random rashes, and no doctor wants to deal with it. 🤷♀️

I'm 26 female.

- eyecontactishard

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