COVID-19: What is it like to be immunocompromised?
We are living through a pandemic. Well, duh, that’s why you’re reading this article inside your home — and you better stay at home. As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread through the entire world, there has been discussions of who are most at risk. There are a lot of people who remain at risk and here’s what it is actually like to be immunocompromised.
First of all, what does it mean to be immunocompromised?
Sometimes referred to as immunosuppressed, immunocompromised means that one’s immune defenses remained weakened and doesn’t function normally. Dr. William Li, physician scientist and author explains:
“These defenses, made of an army of cells with unique weapons that destroy invaders in the body, protect you against the common cold, bacteria, and viruses, and even cancer… When the defenses are low, an individual becomes highly vulnerable to infection.”
The challenges of an immunocompromised person during COVID-19
Basically, one’s immune system remains generally weaker. They are generally more susceptible to sickness. The physical challenge comes with getting sick easier, staying sick longer, and the severity can be more intense and dangerous. The mental challenge, on the other hand, they would never know if they are being properly cautious or just paranoid.
If an immunocompromised person contracts the coronavirus, they don’t particular know what would happen. They may be young and healthy (except from their chronic pain and other stuff), but they do remain immunocompromised. It remains a possibility that they have more chance of getting COVID-19.
An immunocompromised during COVID-19: overreacting or cautious?
It would be possible that one’s body could kick the virus’ ass. However, it would be possible that because of complications, they would need to require hospitalization or worse. They don’t have any way of knowing and it’s something they wouldn’t want to find out. The feeling of not knowing could, frankly, drive them insane.
They don’t know if they’re overreacting or underreacting. An immunocompromised person could contract COVID-19 with something simple. They could be staying at home and ordering take-out. A simple hand-off from a delivery guy could be the start of the infection — no food or death?
The dangers of interacting during COVID-19 pandemic
What if someone that they knew and interacted with was actually an asymptomatic carrier and they didn’t even know it? This is how the disease have been spreading in parts of the world undetected. It could already be too late and they wouldn’t even have an idea. It remains an overwhelming feeling that could affect their mental stability.
So, what is it like to be immunocompromised during COVID-19?
Well, it would be similar to what a normal person goes through every single day… but more. They stay indoors, don’t see anyone else that they don’t actually live with, and fanatically washes their hands. Above all, they try to continue their responsibilities and maintain their happiness to avoid succumbing to the feelings of anxiety.
There are people who are immunocompromised and whose reactions would likely be way more severe than what I am talking (well, writing) about. When we talk about who is at risk for COVID-19, it doesn’t immediately mean that only elderly citizens could get it which, by the way, would still be incredibly tragic.
Immunocompromised people could include diabetics, cancer patients, cancer survivors, asthmatics, and those with lung and heart disease, among others. Some people would seem healthy in every conceivable way who could be tragically blindsided by a simple interaction.
Why did I feel the need to write the article?
I am compelled to write this article for my sister who currently suffers from Lupus. My favorite person is immunocompromised, resulting in me feeling the need to create this article. Why? Because there are still parts of the country that don’t accept the severity of what we currently face today. Still, as of writing this, there are decisions from the government that remain questionable.
The fact that there are people who still go out doing unnecessary things. I understand the people who need to work. However, the amount of people who want to go out just for the sake of going out— it’s unfair. They continue to disregard the threat that we are facing while many of us remain confined at our home. Understandably, it would make an immunocompromised person and their loved ones upset. Personally, it makes me want to scream. Seeing them go out sends a message to those at risk that they don’t care about what happens if they contract COVID-19.
We need to take care of each other
The administration may have ‘failed’ us but we don’t have to fail each other. We have to act together because every moment wasted will just lead to more suffering. To immunocompromised people, this won’t end soon. They will continue to live in fear of not knowing if it’s actually safe to go outside or anywhere they want.
If the stay-at-home order gets lifted, there are people who would want to throw parties where people shake hands, hug, and even kiss each other. We can’t do that… not immediately. Because as long as the virus exist, it will continue to spread. We will be right back to where we started.
These immunocompromised people need your help. So, please stay home and practice social distancing.
Angela Grace P. Baltan has been writing professionally since 2017. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. Aside from that, she has an affinity for writing anything under the sun. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, the LGBTQIA+ community, and mental health among others.