When I was driving home last Sunday (01/09) feeling absolutely awful, I immediately thought the worst; COVID-19. Unfortunately, I was right, and I joined the over 218,000 Montanans diagnosed with the disease. My symptoms, however, were relatively mild. Perhaps it's because I was vaccinated, or maybe it was the fact that I'm a millennial who isn't at high risk for it. Whatever the case may be, my experience with COVID-19 made me realize that I was fearing something much, much worse. And there was no reason for that.

My fear was falsified.

I'm sure many Montanans have seen commercials detailing the devastation COVID has wrought upon the United States and beyond. That was my view; if I get this disease, I'll end up like these people. My experience proved that wrong, however, it's hard not to understand that it's still a brutal disease. These folks are struggling for their lives and, in some cases, can't get access to ventilators and proper care due to overcrowding in hospitals.

However, I do believe that if you aren't at high risk for the disease, you're in a younger age group, and/or you're vaccinated, you should have nothing to fear. Follow your doctor's orders and treat your test results with a level of seriousness, but do not let the media's portrayal of this disease freak you out. It's not as bad as people make it out to be for everyone.

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My recovery from COVID-19 has been smooth.

My symptoms with COVID were a bit concerning at first, with a fever north of 100 degrees and body aches. A bronchial cough later developed, along with sinus issues. However, to this day, every single one of those symptoms is gone, except for the cough, which has become much more mild and sporadic instead of the fits of coughing I had during my quarantine. One of the surprising facts about my reaction to COVID was that I never lost my sense of taste or smell, which is a major indicator that someone has been infected.

What I'm trying to say is that there are definite risks that come inherently with COVID and they can be deadly. But, living in fear of a disease only makes the population more paranoid about it. I definitely was, and I'm certainly not anymore.

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