Culture

‘Playing COVID roulette’: Some infected by FLiRT variants report their most unpleasant symptoms yet


Rong-Gong Lin II | Los Angeles Times (TNS)

LOS ANGELES — As the summer travel season picks up, COVID cases and hospitalizations are rising in areas of the country — and some of those recently reinfected are finding their latest bout to be the worst yet.

There are no signs at this point that the latest coronavirus variants are producing more severe illness.

But doctors have always warned that, though subsequent COVID infections are often mild compared with a first brush with the disease, they can still cause severe illness. Even if someone doesn’t need to visit the emergency room or be hospitalized, people describe painful, even agonizing symptoms.

“The dogma is that every time you get COVID, it’s milder. But I think we need to keep our minds open to the possibility that some people have worse symptoms,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert.

Each time getting COVID, he said, is “kind of like playing COVID roulette.”

Since everyone’s experience with COVID is different and influenced by a number of factors, it’s difficult to quantify how many are experiencing more acute symptoms now compared with their previous infections. But anecdotally, including on social media sites, people are expressing shock at how sick they’ve become from the latest subvariants, which have been collectively nicknamed FLiRT.

“I’ve had COVID a few times but this is the worst I’ve had it,” wrote one person on Reddit. The person reported recurring fever, being so congested they couldn’t breathe out of their nose, “terrible sinus pressure and headache … and I can’t stand up for too long without feeling like I’m about to pass out.”

“Previously COVID just felt like the common cold, but this strain is [wreaking] havoc,” the person wrote. “I don’t like to complain like this, but I’m shocked at how much it’s taking me out.”

Another person wrote that their “throat feels like razor blades” and that they feel like they’re “in living misery.”

“I have so much phlegm, but it hurts so bad to cough because my throat is on literal fire!!” the person wrote. “This is my 4th time having Covid and I swear I feel like this is the worst it’s ever been!!”

Others who eluded COVID for more than four years got infected this summer.

One person fell ill and tested positive for the first time after hosting a Father’s Day gathering for 12 people. The person described “uncontrollable body-shaking chills so bad I couldn’t feel most of my fingertips.”

A 42-year-old nurse, who has had COVID four times, said their latest illness has been “intense with fevers, cough, head pressure and pain. It’s attacking my throat and ability to swallow.”

Others, though, have said each subsequent COVID illness has been easier to recover from. And one first-time infected person wrote that they had “super mild symptoms [that] just feels like a seasonal allergy” flare-up.

Some studies back up the idea that subsequent COVID infections pose additional risks. A 2022 report in the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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