COVID long haulers share their truths on TikTok

Beth Ann Pardo held her 13th ultramarathon in October 2019. The insurance director ran to strengthen and ran to clear his mind after many days working in Guelph, Ontario (Canada) as a hobby.

Pardo was married in February 2020. He returned from a honeymoon in March and went to a local grocery store on March 24th. Shortly thereafter, he received a warning from the store. then passed a positive test for COVID.

Pardo began to notice symptoms on April 2. But like many people, Pardo did not reverse the effects of the new coronavirus. “I was in bed for 17 days and couldn’t walk. It’s the worst disease I’ve ever seen,” he said. His local public health body was not inspected. The hospital told him to stay home and not to move if there was not enough air.

Pardo did not need to go to the hospital, but for the last 26 months his temperature had been rising every day. He no longer goes to races: enough for a 45-year-old to survive a marathon.

COVID long hauler Beth Ann PardoBeth Ann Pardo

Pardo is one of many people who have long been referred to as COVID, in which symptoms persist for months or years after exposure to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in five adults may have a previous COVID-19 condition. Prolonged COVID is increasingly considered one of the biggest threats to the disease, which has killed at least six million people worldwide.

Doctors are still trying to decide how to treat COVID for a long time, why it seems to only affect some patients or they don’t understand what it is. Like many things related to the coronavirus in the novel, there are many questions and valuable answers from experts.

“I live 20 percent of my previous life,” Pardo said. “When I leave home, I stay in bed for a day or two.” It is a lonely, sad life. That’s why Pardo appreciates TikTock’s long-standing COVID community.

“I didn’t want to a deal Decreases with all the negative comments virus and how sick I am, and is calling me lazy. ”

Pardo first entered TikTok in March 2020 when he fell ill and found sabotage. He was far from alone: ​​people around the world spent as much time in March 2020 as they did in TickTock from the present to the Stone Age. At first, she watched dance and comedy videos. For a long time COVID had not happened yet.

But since then it has become an important part of TikTok. Videos marked with #longhauler have been viewed by more than 43 million people in the app. #Longcovid is even more popular with 163 million views. Both hashtags are filled with people sharing their personal experiences on the transition from a healthy lifestyle to a life that changes forever.

Pardo then switched from video viewer to content creator in October 2021 full house Actor Candice Cameron Bure posted an opinion against the vaccine on her Instagram page. “That was the first time I shared my story,” Pardo said. “Listen: I was an ultramarathoner, it’s my immune system and how it upset me.” The first TikTok video about his long COVID caught the attention of many; it has been seen more than 13,000 times.

Pardo’s @longcovidlife account now has more than 50,000 subscribers who see regular updates on how life is on its way to recovery. One of his most popular videos, a brief history of his long COVID, has been viewed more than a million times in the app. And he has long been one of the many active members of the COVID TickTock community.

Another member of the community is Georgian lawyer Erica Taylor. The 33-year-old, who was infected with COVID in mid-June 2020, knows something happened in his stomach and he felt a sinus infection. A day or more after the test gave a positive result, his fever rose, and then he became tired and fatigued.

He was ill for several weeks and finally recovered on the 4th of July. But it was only a short break: after 48 hours, the fever returned and stopped by the end of the month. Twice as dark as he was ill, his mind seemed static and full of white noise. “At one point, I told him my name,” he said. “I think to myself, I remember, Something just went wrong, but I don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to do about it. I was completely scared. “

#Longcovid TickToker Erica TaylorErica Taylor

This was accompanied by a sudden rise in blood pressure, pain in his legs, and a feeling of heaviness in his chest. Doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and a blood clot in his leg. Taylor began blogging and posting on Facebook, describing his symptoms and protesting the false information he saw on the internet. Eventually, he became so tired from chronic fatigue syndrome that he was unable to write, so he began documenting his illness through videos on TikTok.

“If you’re not a mutual observer, you can only watch my lawyer videos,” he says. “But if you’re the person I’m following and following me, you’ll see all my COVID videos.” This was done deliberately: “It was a step taken to protect myself. I didn’t want to be preoccupied with negative thoughts that slowed down the virus and how sick I was and called me lazy. “

Dealing with incorrect information

Not all members of the community are infected with COVID. Paul Lombard, a 54-year-old Maryland resident, refutes false information on TikTok every week and is interviewed in lengthy interviews about their stories.

The day-to-day work of the pawnshop is to work with the National Institutes of Health to edit and post COVID content on their website. “Even though I’m not a doctor or a scientist, I’ve never told myself, but I have a lot of information on the subject,” he said. In the early stages of the pandemic, he was forced to start publishing on TikTok in response to the spread of misinformation on the platform.

Since then he has done other things to change for the better carriers – and contacted everyone for support. “I’ve seen individual creators start telling their stories, and they come together and sew or comment on each other’s videos,” Lombard says. Pardo helps run a weekly virtual support group at TikTok Live for those struggling with long-term COVID, but he is going through stages of rejection for his own health.

This sharing – and knowing that you are not alone in the experiences you face – continues to bring people like Pardo. “Documenting and sharing the course of my symptoms is therapeutic for me,” she says. “But why am I doing this, people on my side have lost their way to me and don’t know where to start with a GP. [general practitioner]. ” Sometimes, Pardo says, doctors who treat patients with COVID for long periods of time are as lost as patients because of the relative novelty of the problem.

Like any online creator, remote carriers have to accept negative comments along with supporters – an issue complicated by the controversy surrounding COVID that some people believe is unrealistic, despite the high number of deaths. “Most attackers don’t attack me,” Pardo said. “They are attacking the left-wing agenda related to COVID.”

“Just talk to those who understand [long COVID] fills the void inside me heart The other cannot be filled places. ”

However, it is often called lazy by commentators who claim that COVID is unrealistic. “I would get up at 4:30 every morning to train and then run 25 miles[25 km],” says Pardo. “I am dying to return to my former life. I’m not lazy. ” It can be hard not to take such comments personally, but he is often willing to talk to skeptics if he wants them to be reasonable.

TickTock – with the ability to distribute to millions of people – is a double-edged sword, says Lombard. “I think TikTok is the best of humanity and the worst of humanity,” he says. “People here can come forward to share something difficult and painful, and they can be vulnerable, and people will support and accept that. Then you will have the other side who simply rejects, insults or treats you rudely. ”

However, Lombard sees good as more than evil: “The good side tends to speak or resist and gets a chance to hear their message.”

First of all, Pardo is glad to hear his message on TikTok. “I’m forever grateful for that because it normalizes it,” Pardo said. She often tells her family or people on the street about her illness, but they can’t report it. “It’s very difficult for people to wrap their heads around a chronic illness or a chronic illness,” he says.

But on the internet, this changes when similar people experience the same thing. “Just to talk to people who understand,” says Pardo, “fills a void in my heart that I can’t fill anywhere else.”

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