COVID Redux (again)

I just posted a blog a couple weeks ago about the state of Covid in the new year. Monday I failed to post a blog in a series regarding cardiac risk factors—why? Because I got Covid, just under a year from my bout with it in 2022. I don’t know who I got it from, but it once again occurred when I was away on vacation. While I masked at the airport and in customs, as I was in a room crowded with unmasked people, I didn’t mask during other parts of the trip. No one I traveled with has become ill, so I suspect I got it on one of the shuttles I took to various excursions.

It has again felt like a bad cold or flu.  I have had sinus congestion and been profoundly tired and fatigued. Fevers were almost constant for 3 days, topping just shy of 103°.  Luckily, I never had pulmonary (lung) symptoms—no shortness of breath, and my oxygen saturations remained normal throughout the week. After three days of feeling rather miserable, my energy started to return and, as I write this on a Saturday, I expect to go back to work on Monday. During this week, I lived in a spare bedroom in order to isolate myself from my wife and daughters. When I ventured out to eat or afford myself a brief change of scenery, I wore a mask. To date, no one in my family has gotten sick—a huge relief and blessing to me.

This experience has been humbling, as I feel that I haven’t followed my own admonitions about Covid. I, like many of us, have started to feel a certain complacency about the illness. Yes, we are all more likely to recover and not have life-threatening illness. But I was actually sicker this time than I was last year—despite having been vaccinated 5 times! I lost a week of work and am playing Russian roulette again with long Covid.

So I again reach out to you and encourage all of you:

  1. Get vaccinated!  While it didn’t prevent me from contracting the highly contagious Omicron BA.5 variant of Covid, I am sure it is what kept me from becoming dangerously ill. Most of the people who are currently being hospitalized or dying of Covid are those who chose not to be vaccinated.
  2. Wear a mask in crowded/enclosed spaces. I am confident that my family has avoided getting contaminated by me because I wore a mask when I was in their vicinity. Furthermore, I have avoided catching Covid from my patients for three years because I was wearing a mask. It was my lack of a mask while traveling that led to my infection. Barriers do help!

I hope you don’t experience what I’ve gone through this week. Please take these simple precautions “to heart,” not only to protect yourselves, but those around you. It will allow all of us to go back to leading a more normal existence.

Greg Koshkarian, MD, FACC

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Gregory Koshkarian, MD, FACC