Hello there. Firefighter/EMS professional here.
By Daisy K
Someone suggested I should come leave my story, so here I am. I do have asthma, but otherwise am very active. No underlying cardiac or other issues. I managed to pick up covid in late July (22nd was my positive date). I either picked it up from the station I was in at my EMS job (almost everyone at the station ended up catching it) or from the asymptomatic person I worked with. Yes, yes, some people have said asymptomatic people can't spread it... but some people have said they can so who knows. I picked up an extra shift at the EMS job on a Friday. On Monday I went back to my regularly scheduled fire department job. We were training with chainsaws. I thought I got a piece of wood in my eye, because it started burning and my nose started stinging and running. That persisted for about 24 hours. On Tuesday I started to feel a little achy in my joints. Still nothing particularly unusual, because we did a ton of training, and I was pretty sore. We do mandatory temp checks every 12 hours. On my night time temp check, I was showing over 100 fever on the temporal scanner. Uh oh. I rechecked with an oral thermometer – it was the same. At that point I knew something was definitely wrong. So I quarantined to my room for the remainder of shift (9 hours ish). I was feeling pretty yucky by the morning, took temp again, still over 100. Went for my test straight from end of shift. Don't worry, my room and the station were fully disinfected after I left, just in case. This is where it gets fun.
So the first like... 4 days or so I basically slept ALL DAY. I knocked out the fever the first day, by the by. Anyway, we're talking slept about 20 hours a day for 4 days. It doesn't seem physically possible – it is. When I finally came out of my hibernation... I had the sniffles, stuffy nose, and cough. I also had the digestive upset (nausea, diarrhea). All that lasted until day 7 or 8. I finally lost my sense of smell/taste, but it took a while to get to that point. The absolute worst part....
The ABSOLUTE WORST PART... is that I developed a histamine rash about 3 days in. This is pretty common with viruses, and I read that something like ¼ of all covid victims get a rash. It was AWFUL. This stupid rash started out small, just on my feet and hands. Boy oh boy! It exploded to my knees, elbows, hands, thighs, pelvic area, stomach, neck, etc. And it lasted! Oh my word, it lasted for 14 freakin days! I passed up the CDC 10 days from positive test result limit and still couldn't go out into the world because of that dadgum rash. Bless it. It was only sort of itchy, but it burned in the sun like the fires of Hades. And I did a lot of sitting out in the sun reading and tanning since I couldn't GO anywhere.
My total time in hiding was 17 days. My sense of smell/taste came back around day 14, but wasn't fully back to normal for like... a month. I had a persistent cough for a month or so as well. The craziest part to me was the exhaustion. I was so tired all the time! I had to take it easy in the gym and on shift for 2 months. I would finish a shift and go home to my bed and sleep for 10 hours. The exhaustion/ weakness was definitely the longest lasting symptom of all. I ended up having every single symptom on the list of common symptoms. I don't think I have any lasting issues or permanent damage. I'm writing this at the end of October.
I did end up spreading it to 1 single other person at the FD (out of the 12 other people at that station with me not counting the other firefighters from other stations coming in and out). He just had the sniffles and cough for 4 days. He did experience the prolonged exhaustion and had a persistent cough for a month as well. They gave us a funny nickname at work since I gave him covid. He's fine now.
So anyway, hopefully this story helps someone. If not, hope at least someone had a chuckle. Daisy out.