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She still feels symptoms from COVID-19 more than a year later. That’s why she wants you to get vaccinated.

Gloria was exposed to COVID-19 in December 2020. One person at the food manufacturing facility she works at tested positive, and the business closed for 10 days. A few days later, Gloria found out she had COVID. What came next is something she says she wouldn’t wish on anyone.

The worst pain she has known.

Gloria says her entire body just felt heavy. She had headaches and a fever. She felt sweaty, had chest pains and couldn’t take a full breath. She could feel it in her heart.

“I thought I was having a lupus flare up, but this was different,” she said. Because of underlying health conditions, she worried about her heart and lungs.

“I waited as long as I could before going to the hospital,” she said. “They did an MRI and CT scan and found water and swelling around the lungs.”

The doctors put her on a lot of medications, and she chose to go home. The worst of the symptoms came on New Year’s Eve 2020.

“It felt like something hit me in my back,” she said. “Like a very sharp pain, like a stab.” Gloria says it was the worst feeling she has known. She couldn’t move or get out of bed. She took Tylenol for her pain.

She stayed home and a few days later she started to feel better.

Still waiting to get to 100%.

Once her body and chest pain started to ease up, she began to lose her taste and smell. When her quarantine ended, she still had body aches, but it wasn’t as heavy. The pain came in waves.

She went back to work, but the pain persisted—2 months later she still had back and chest pain. By the fourth month, she still had limited ability to taste food.

Now, more than a year later, she says she’s a little better but not fully in the clear.

“I don’t know how to explain it but you’re talking or something and then all of sudden you can’t breathe,” she said. “You have to really work at it so your lungs can fill back up with air.”

Even this past Christmas she says she couldn’t taste things like soda, barbecue, and even some salad dressings at the dinner table. Her body aches are better but sometimes she still feels pain in her lungs.

“As time goes by the symptoms disappear but sometimes it still hits you,” she said. “I’m 99% better and hopefully as time goes by it will actually go away. But I’m doing good, at least I’m alive.”

You can’t be sure you won’t get it.”

Gloria is vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines were not widely available when she contracted COVID-19. She wants to remind everyone to get vaccinated and boosted, because it’s the best way to lower your chances of getting COVID-19.

“Get vaccinated,” she said. “You can’t be sure that you won’t get COVID-19 and it’s not going to hurt you. You need your vaccination to stay alive. The things that I went through, I don’t want anyone to go through that.”

Long-term symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors like organ damage and inflammation from COVID-19. They can occur after mild or asymptomatic infection.

Doctors still don’t know who is at risk of long-term symptoms after COVID-19 infection. But we know that in Pierce County people who are not vaccinated are 3 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 9 times more likely to die. You can see more about the state of COVID-19 in Pierce County on our dashboard.

Find your dose

Find your COVID-19 vaccine today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

And you can do even more to help stop the spread.

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