PERSPECTIVE: We asked our colleague some questions via text message about coming down with Covid-19. He had most likely caught the Omicron variant of the virus in this latest wave of infections that have spread through Singapore over the past two months. Here are his responses.
A Singaporean man, 32, who works in Mothership, came down with Covid-19 after he most likely got infected by the Omicron variant of the virus.
His condition, while supposedly not serious as per medical advice dished out by the local health authorities, still made him feel like he was severely sick.
We asked him some questions via text messages regarding how bad he felt, why it was worse than expected, and if he feels lucky or unlucky to finally contract Covid-19.
1. How bad does Omicron feel?
Frequent chills, low grade fever, mild headaches that come and go, and runny nose and one of the worst sore throats I have ever experienced.
2. How do you know you have Omicron and not another variant?
I’m assuming that I have the Omicron variant.
Actually, I’m pretty sure this is Omicron and not Delta as I can still smell my food and my farts.
3. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = best, 10 = worst), how bad did you feel?
7 on the first day of symptoms.
9 on Day 2.
7 on Day 4
4. Do you think it is reasonable to feel this bad but not go to the doctor?
You can definitely try to self-medicate, so you don’t need to go see a doctor.
But as the days go by and you don’t seem to be recovering at the usual pace, I think it’s completely understandable that people will want to go see the doctor.
5. Were you surprised to get Covid-19 during this Omicron surge?
Not surprised to get Covid-19.
However, I was surprised at how severe the symptoms can be, especially since people online have been saying how it’s so mild.
It’s actually been a while since I had a flu or sore throat that was this terrible.
So, I went to covid.gov.sg and found out that what I have — fever, cough, and sore throat — are considered mild symptoms.
The more severe symptoms would be stuff like chest pains, shortness of breath, and prolonged fever.
But the mild symptoms were already making me feel like s***.
6. How did you get Covid-19?
I’m not sure actually. Maybe I got it from a dinner with friends.
7. Do you think your infection could have been prevented?
I think I wouldn’t have been infected if I stayed home and avoided all social interactions like a hermit.
8. Would you rather have been infected with Covid-19 months ago or now?
If this is the Omicron variant I got, then I would very much prefer to have it now than months ago.
9. Do you think people are flooding GP clinics because Omicron actually makes your body feel very bad?
Again, if you’re expecting a “mild” infection then I think the severity of it might worry you.
And because of that, you might think it’s better to visit a GP clinic.
10. So, it is kind of like the situation where you understand intellectually what is mild supposed to be, but when your body is acting up due to the Omicron infection, and you feel like death, you can’t really grasp how this is mild?
No. I had a different definition of “mild”. I thought “mild” means like slight cough, little bit of throat irritation etc.
But when I got infected, it felt like 10 times more than what I expected.
And also maybe I was lulled by this false sense of security because of my vaccination status — double dosed, not yet due for booster — so I thought the symptoms would be very easy to manage, e.g. sick but still can be up and about, can work etc.
11. And you can commiserate with people who are supposedly having mild Covid-19 symptoms but end up still going to the general practitioner clinics to see the doctor?
People who see the doctor do so for two reasons, perhaps.
One reason is that they really did not expect Omicron to feel this bad.
And also, if they do plan to go overseas soon, they feel it is better to have a recovery memo and forego PCR testing, which can be expensive.
Top image via Unsplash