I want to begin by stating that what you are about to read is my experience and recovery from COVID-19 and a few observations I have about it all. I'm not a doctor or in the medical field, I'm just an average middle-aged guy from Tri-Cities. This article is not pro or anti-vaccination, and I'm not making a political statement. I'm merely sharing my story and my conditions before I contracted the virus and how I feel now.

Those Who Have Not Had COVID Want to Know What It's Like

If you're like me, when someone I know contracts COVID, I become very interested in their recovery and symptoms - how they developed, the severity, recovery time, and any lasting effects. After I contracted the virus many of my friends, family, and co-workers reached out to offer support and at the same time asked a lot of questions. Those who have not had COVID, truly don't know what it's like. This is partly why I decided to write this artricle, that, and hopefully to calm some fears.

I'm in my 50's, I exercise regularly (some say too much) and for the most part, I eat pretty well. I have no underlying conditions other than mild asthma and seasonal allergies. I have always taken a daily multi-vitamin and since the start of the pandemic, I added a healthy dose of Zinc, vitamin D, and C. I read somewhere Zinc and vitamin D3 can help with recovery if you contract COVID - honestly, I don't know if that is true, but I decided to add them to my daily supplement regimen anyway.

Vaccination Status and My Use of Masks

Like many, I was on the fence about getting vaccinated and had a lot of questions regarding the safety of the vaccines, so I did as much research as possible, talked to my doctor, weighed the pros and cons, and I made the choice to get two jabs of Pfizer in May of 2021.

Regarding masks, I follow the masking protocol - not overboard - but I wear one when establishments require them. I've attended and hosted family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and weddings since the pandemic began, and I've attended large private parties, indoor concerts, and events - with and without a mask. Never have I felt unsafe or worried, sure I think about it when I'm in those situations but I have purposely tried to limit the amount of time I will allow the pandemic to rent space in my head.

The First Sign of Omicron

On Monday of last week, I felt a little out-of-sorts physically, but nothing that would suggest I was about to get sick. On Tuesday morning, a family member in our household woke up very ill. I felt normal, but stayed home from the office and got tested anyway. Late Tuesday afternoon, it hit me - hard and sudden - with extreme chills and uncontrollable shaking - I was trembling from top to bottom. Fever kicked in at the same time and my temperature quickly reached 102, this was followed by terrible body aches.

I took over-the-counter fever-reducing medication, bundled up, and tried to rest, and surprisingly, I was able to sleep pretty well between the constant shivering, hot flashes, and sweating. The chills subsided overnight and my fever became low-grade by morning.

The Virus Progression

On day two I was surprised at how good I felt but remained cautious because of all the stories I have read - about how it gets better and then worse and so on. This ended up being the case for me - on day 4 shortness of breath kicked in, so much so, I had trouble sleeping for three nights. One of the warning signs for extreme COVID is trouble breathing, so I took a trip to urgent care and the doctor put me on Albuterol and a short-term steroid to get me over the hump.

For the next few days, the only other symptoms I experienced were some nausea, gas, mild shortness of breath and a lingering cough. A lot of the symptoms I was expecting never materialized - there was no sore throat, cough, headache, runny nose, or loss of tastes and smell. I was so surprised by this, that I did more research and discovered that only 11% of people who contract COVID get a sore throat (in the beginning phase). I was under the impression a sore throat was the first sign of COVID. That's not always the case, fever usually is. That's why some establishments take your temp before allowing entry.

Recovery and Closing Thoughts

I'm on day 9 as of this writing and honestly, I feel good (and lucky), considering what my body is fighting. Looking back on it all, I would compare it to a bad chest cold coupled with a fever and asthma. I want to reiterate, this has been MY experience. One thing is for certain, COVID affects people differently - the level of severity will vary for sure.

I am in good physical health, fully vaccinated, and got sick. I have close friends who are healthy, vaccinated, and boosted, and also contracted the virus last week - they experienced mild symptoms as well and are still recovering.

More and more Tri-Citians are contracting Omicron, but as it has been reported in the news, all indications so far are that it is mild for most people, and to me, this is good news. Imagine if it were the opposite.

Thanks for reading my story, I hope it has shed some light on what you could (I hope not) expect if you got it. Good health and happiness to you in 2022.  More information is always available on the CDC website.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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