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Having Covid-19: a first-hand experience

On Friday 13 March 2020 the University confirmed that one of its students had contracted coronavirus Covid-19.

The student, who had recently been in Switzerland, took ill the day after he returned to the UK. He self-isolated in private accommodation and contacted NHS 111 when symptoms first appeared.

After seven days in self-isolation supported by the NHS and the University, the student has recovered and is willing to share his experience, to help demystify the illness and to offer reassurance to others.

In a letter to St Andrews Principal Professor Sally Mapstone he praised the University’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and volunteered to share his story.

“Very few people have heard what having Covid-19 is like first hand, and considering the University is composed primarily of individuals in my age/health demographic, I think it might be comforting for them to know what I’ve experienced and what they can expect to encounter,” he said.

“I began feeling ill on Monday night when I started developing a slight cough and went to bed with some chills – knowing I would wake up the next day sick. I woke up Tuesday coughing and with achiness and a slight fever (100F).

“Considering my travel history and the closeness of the St Andrews community, I decided to follow the ASC’s (University’s Advice and Support Centre) guidance by self-isolating and then alerting both them and the NHS.

“The symptoms largely subsided during the afternoon, which would be a persistent trend. Wednesday morning I woke up with a marginally higher fever (101F) and the same congestion and achiness as the day prior. That afternoon I was tested.

“I recorded no fever when I woke up Thursday, and although sleep was equally restless, the achiness and congestion had both lessened noticeably. I went to bed Friday evening feeling congested but significantly less sick than days prior. The following day I woke up feeling normal, with some mild congestion that I expect will linger.

“The worst part of the five-day ordeal has been the boredom of self-isolating and, even more so, the mound of coursework I now have to tackle. I realise that for vulnerable members of our population, Covid-19 can be far worse. However, for the majority of the students at St Andrews, I would say that fear and panic are unwarranted and serve only to delay the five-day immunity acquisition process.

“The NHS has authorized me to end my quarantine on Monday (16 March) and I look forward to fresh air, human interaction, exercise, and coffee from Taste.

“The ASC has been a massive help to me and I really appreciate the manner in which you all structured and implemented the Covid-19 response for St Andrews.”

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