Marcus is 27 years old and lives with pancolitis – a form of Ulcerative Colitis. He is on azathioprine and had recently finished a course of prednisolone when he tested positive for coronavirus on 10 September.
This is his journal through that experience.
07/09: I noticed in the evening that I had a slightly dry, scratchy throat.
08/09: The dry, scratchy throat continued. I also started having a very mild and infrequent cough along with a mild headache. In the evening, my lungs started burning. I had no idea it was coronavirus at this point, so I thought it was severe heartburn or something. My torso (sometimes my upper back, sometimes my chest, sometimes both) started burning for 5-10 minutes periods every 15-20 minutes. It felt like waves, over a three hour period. It was extremely unpleasant, but thankfully hasn’t affected me again since. That night I had chills and fever all night, and barely slept.
09/09: I was very fatigued, probably due to lack of sleep and I still had a mild headache. I felt cold throughout the day and couldn’t get warm. The mild and infrequent cough continued. I was shivering in the evening despite having a jumper and blanket on. I had chills and fever again that night, and was quite sweaty, but slept better than the previous night.
10/09: I had a coronavirus test today. I woke up with a sore throat, which was gone by midday and I started having quite bad diarrhoea. I went to the loo about 8 times throughout the day and I also noticed that everything I ate tasted horrible. The mild and infrequent cough continued and that night I had severe night sweats. I woke up several times drenched in sweat which was extremely unpleasant, and I didn’t sleep well at all. I also had to get up twice in the night with diarrhoea.
11/09: I started taking zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D supplements. I had a very mild headache and the diarrhoea continued but wasn’t as bad as the day before. My mild cough became more chesty, although I still wasn’t coughing very often, and the right-side of my throat was sore. I noticed a strange itching and burning sensation in my nostrils. That night I had severe night sweats again, and I didn’t sleep well at all. I also had an annoying dry cough throughout the night.
12/09: The diarrhoea continued, same as yesterday. The mild chesty cough continued. The mild sore throat on the right-hand side came back in the evening. I had night sweats again that night, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been. I had an annoying dry cough throughout the night again and had to get up once in the night with diarrhoea.
13/09: My coronavirus test result came back positive. The diarrhoea continued but was an improvement on yesterday. I had some mild chest pain whilst inhaling. I was tired and had to take a nap at 7PM. I think I had a slight fever at night, but only minimal night sweats.
14/09: The diarrhoea continued, same as yesterday. I completely lost my sense of taste and smell. I coughed up some phlegm once or twice. I think I had a slight fever at night again, but only minimal night sweats.
15/09: The diarrhoea was pretty much gone and no more fever or night sweats! I still have no sense of taste or smell.
16/09: Same as previous day.
In the following days, my cough disappeared, and my sense of taste and smell returned. I continued to feel a little tired in the day for a week or two after but felt completely back to normal after that.
Some people have reported symptoms of coronavirus that are similar to Crohn’s and Colitis, like diarrhoea. It can sometimes be hard to tell what is causing your symptoms, so check with your IBD Team. Always let your healthcare professional know if you start taking any over-the-counter treatments or supplements, as these may affect your Crohn’s or Colitis treatment.