5 High-Risk Women Explain How COVID-19 Could Change Their Lives
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

5 High-Risk Women Explain How Their Lives Could Drastically Change If They Caught COVID-19

A pre-med student, a sorority gal, a broadcasting director, a mom, and an Odyssey writer are all asking you to stay home.

5 High-Risk Women Explain How Their Lives Could Drastically Change If They Caught COVID-19

In the weeks leading up to the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns in the United States, many people made light of the situation, saying that "it's just another version of the flu" and "it only affects older people." Even a couple of weeks in, there are still people trying to go to the beach, trying to eat out, trying to travel and still not taking this seriously.

Maybe it's just me, but when I see perfectly healthy adults (like P!nk) getting sick and saying, "This is the scariest thing I've ever been through in my whole life," there are warning signs going off in my head.

I decided to interview some women I know whose lives would be put at unique risk how they feel about the coronavirus and, more importantly, how they feel about people not taking it seriously.

1. Carli, a pre-med student from Fort Myers

Carli Coppola

Carli is currently working as a medical scribe that works with ER physicians, so she has been able to learn through years of living with IgA deficiency. IgA deficiency is an immune system condition in which a body doesn't have enough of the immunoglobulin known as IgA, making her much more susceptible to viruses such as the coronavirus. Two years ago, she found out she had blood clots that damaged her lungs and heart.

"Because of my IgA deficiency, my body does not have the protein that fights infections (antibodies), which means that if I do catch COVID-19, I could end up very, very sick and probably end up in the ICU."

Carli spends a large amount of time and energy during cold and flu season to provide herself with extra protection, such as getting her yearly flu shot. Carli was the person who inspired me to get yearly flu shots regardless of whether I'm susceptible to the flu or not.

"I wash pretty much all of my sheets and clothes extra during flu season. I wipe down EVERYTHING in my apartment at least once a day (including counters, tables, my bathroom, all handles, etc.). I do my best to keep my distance from those who have any symptoms of being sick and wash my hands VERY frequently. I also keep a bunch of bottles of hand sanitizer in my apartment, my purses, and car to carry with me at all times."

The truth is that COVID-19 is a quickly spreading virus, and the belief that it only affects one age group is very dangerous. The one thing that she has found to be the most frustrating is that everyone says that only old people get really sick.

"But what college kids and younger people don't know is that there are people like me out there with several illnesses and are immunocompromised, which means that we are also in that high-risk group of people (not just old people)."

Her words of wisdom to everyone right now are this.

"Just make sure to stay home and not be stupid by going out drinking or going to the beach because it only takes one person to pass the virus to hundreds of others."

2. Lauren, a Chi Omega from Fort Myers

Lauren Brockaway

Lauren (left) is a Chi Omega from my chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University. Lauren has several undiagnosed, ongoing respiratory problems that she's been fighting her whole life. Her symptoms tend to range from mild to severe, and she's more susceptible to bronchitis, the common cold, and allergies, which can result in a barking cough. For Lauren, catching COVID-19 would be extremely problematic.

"The last time I had a respiratory infection similar to COVID-19, I was in the hospital because my pulse oxygen would not go above an 85 (the normal is 90 – 100)."

As someone who is more susceptible to the virus, Lauren has to be more attentive to her lungs so that something as simple as the common cold or viral infections don't lead to more complicated health problems.

"If I get a cold, I will most likely get bronchitis as a result. So things like washing my hands, being cautious of my surrounding, i.e. if someone is sick around me, etc."

Lauren wants to stress about why quarantining is important and WHO it's important for.

"This quarantine isn't for able-bodied people with regular immune systems. You need to be extra cautious for those who don't have the privilege of being safe from this horrible virus."

3. Katelyn, a broadcasting director from Bradenton

Katelyn Motler

Katelyn is the weekend station producer for Sarasota News Network and currently is keeping everyone up to date with COVID-19 news. She has asthma and severe allergies that can trigger shortness of breath and can even close her throat up.

"If I caught COVID-19 it would severely attack my lungs because they're already so weak — I already have a hard time with regular respiratory infections."

Unlike many other people, Katelyn is unable to socially distance herself from her work since the news is "essential work." As someone who sees more statistics and information than the majority of us, Katelyn is constantly worried about her chances of catching the virus.

"Working at the station I have heard so many stories of losing family members and how it's absolutely destroyed them. Seeing the statistics and numbers every day is getting scary."

4. Sharla, a mother from Bradenton

Sharla Dawn

This is Sharla, a mother of three from Bradenton, Florida with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Sharla's symptoms range from nose bleeds and bone pain to fractures, hypercalcemia, renal failure, and anemia.

"I don't fight infection well, for example, an upper respiratory infection could lead to pneumonia for me. If I run a fever of over 100 degrees, it's an immediate ER trip for me."

Sharla, like other cancer patients, usually does chemo or takes some other form of treatment that blocks their white cells from fighting off infection, thus causing them to become immunocompromised. During cold and flu season, Sharla has to be extra cautious.

"Social distancing is nothing new for me as I generally live in a bubble every day anyway. The one thing I have really hyped up is wearing gloves and always wearing a mask if I have to go out."

Sharla makes re-useable cloth masks that she donates to local hospitals and charities.

"I would want everyone to know that just like cancer this virus will not discriminate against anyone, EVEN if you are healthy."

5. Amber, an Odyssey creator from FGCU

Amber Aikman

Hi guys, it's me, your friendly immunocompromised Odyssey creator. I rarely write about this portion of my life because it's so surreal compared to all the other bad luck I've had in my life. When I was young, I had asthma, allergies, and epilepsy — which I eventually grew out of. As the years progressed, I lacked the need for an inhaler as long as I constantly kept up with my allergy medication.

Things started to get worse when I left my hometown behind and went into the college phase, known as "taking care of my own health." In the second semester of freshman year, I got a severe case of mono and bronchitis that brought back my asthma and hung over me as I finished an incomplete semester. The second semester of sophomore year I caught, what I thought, was a bad strain of the flu. Unlike every other flu I had experienced in my life (all of which were pretty terrible), this one was different. At one point, I remember not being able to eat because I could barely breathe and passing out a lot. My mom took me to the ER to get some medication, and I found out it was bronchitis with pneumonia. It took a while, but once I recovered, I started to be extremely careful when it came to my health (getting a flu shot, eating well and practicing self-care, being extra careful around flu season).

If I caught the coronavirus, it would be really bad. My friends and family are currently pushing for me to be extra careful when out in public — only going out when REALLY needed and staying away from others. My parents have been careful, making sure to wash their hands before giving me a hug and we've spent most of our time inside. My friends are doing the same (even though I miss them). I've been watching a lot of doctors online talking about patients who've died alone, without their family or anyone they love. That's the part no one seems to understand, and I think that's the part that scares me the most.

To combat the virus, I started isolating a few weeks before Florida went into lockdown. I go out once a day to take my dogs on a walk or to make a splash in my parent's pool. The store I worked at is closed, so I'm currently dependent on my parent's income. Aside from schoolwork or Odyssey writing, I spend the majority of my time catching up on Netflix shows, painting, reading, or doing housework. To anyone who isn't taking this seriously — I hope you have good health insurance.

From Your Site Articles
Report this Content
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments