British Columbians share what it’s like having COVID-19

Across the country, Canadians are being asked to make drastic changes to their lives in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Canadians have heard about how deadly the virus can be, strict social distancing measures needed to contain it, and the punishing effect it is having on the economy.

But what is it like to actually get COVID-19?

We asked three Canadians who contracted the virus — all of whom are under the age of 40 — to share their experiences, and what they want their fellow citizens to know.

Kyla Lee, 33

Vancouver lawyer Kyla Lee thinks she contracted the novel coronavirus on a recent trip to Ohio for a conference.

She’s been isolated at home ever since, and was diagnosed by a doctor via videoconference last week. Fortunately, she says her case is on the mild side.

Lee says once her symptoms began to manifest in earnest last Tuesday, they came on fast.

“First I started just having a dry cough, just a couple coughs here and there, nothing that you would ever really pay that much attention to,” she told Global News over Skype.

“Over the course of 24 hours it got a lot worse, to the point where I was having coughing fits, where it was getting hard to catch my breath, and then chest pains that don’t seem to go away but get worse at points, especially when I’m lying down and trying to sleep.”

There is no cure for COVID-19 and no drug has been officially recommended for treatment.

Instead, Lee has been told to manage her symptoms by taking Tylenol, staying hydrated, and walking around intermittently to prevent pneumonia from setting into her lungs.

She said one of the toughest aspects has been managing the anxiety that comes with COVID-19, noting she’s read scary stories online about otherwise healthy young people dying of the disease.

But she said her doctor has given her clear advice about when to go to the hospital if her symptoms worsen.

Her message to the public? Stay home, because you could be the one to unknowingly infect someone else.

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