As the more and more people get their vaccines and the world (for better or worse) starts to open up a little bit, we’re getting a better idea of how many people have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. More and more high-profile folks are opening up about their experiences with the virus and respiratory illness they experienced — and a number of them have shared that their experiences were pretty harrowing for them and their families.
Salma Hayek is the latest to share her COVID-19 story, telling Variety that she was sick with the virus for seven weeks at the start of the pandemic and had a nearly fatal case that she managed to keep quiet.
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“My doctor begged me to go to the hospital because it was so bad,” she told the magazine. “I said, ‘No, thank you. I’d rather die at home.’”
She says that she spent those weeks isolated in one room in her house and was on oxygen at some point — and that she still hasn’t gotten her energy back.
A number of people who have recovered from bouts of the virus have said they’ve experienced prolonged symptoms and effects. People with “long Covid” often say they experience prolonged brain fog, fatigue, dizziness and loss of taste and smell.
“Long COVID or what’s now — through the National Institutes of Health — being referred to as ‘post-acute sequelae of COVID-19,’ is persistent symptoms or new symptoms that develop, generally speaking, at least four to eight weeks after the initial infection with COVID-19,” Harvard Medical School instructor in medicine and director of BIDMC’s Critical Illness and COVID-19 Survivorship Program Jason Maley told the Harvard Gazette. “It can include the continuation of symptoms that happened when a person was first sick…or it can be new symptoms where a patient feels like they’ve improved and they’re recovering and then a month after being infected, they have worsening chest discomfort and brain fog and difficulty thinking, and all sorts of symptoms from head to toe that can either persist or develop somewhat newly after they’re infected. Some people, for the initial two weeks of their infection, had just cold-like symptoms that lasted for three days. They felt like they were fine and then over the ensuing four months they are just so fatigued. They can barely breathe when they walk around, and they have these other severe symptoms that are really out of proportion to the initial symptoms.”
Heading back to work in April, still recovering, she said that her role in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci has been a great way to get back into her groove: “It was the perfect job to just get back into it. I had started doing Zooms at one point, but I could only do so many because I would get so tired.”
Before you go, check out our favorite all-natural cold and flu remedies for kids:
Launch Gallery: The Things You Need in Your Coronavirus First Aid Kit
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