On July 9, 23-year-old Karim Salmen started to feel really sick. "I threw up all night, and at times I felt like I couldn't breathe," he told BuzzFeed.
A few days later, he tested positive for the coronavirus. "I believe someone close to me exposed me to the virus, but I am not sure," he said. "I haven’t left my house. I have been under quarantine for four months."
Karim was born with a pulmonary condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, which causes inflammation in the lung's smallest airways. He also has pectus excavatum, which means his breastbone is sunken into his chest. Karim's been hospitalized several times in his life for these conditions.
Because of these underlying medical issues, Karim was at a higher risk of becoming severely ill from the coronavirus. He's been hospitalized with COVID-19 for about a week now and has been documenting his journey on TikTok. Yesterday, he was given a stronger air distributor to help with his breathing.
"Some of the symptoms I have been experiencing are shortness of breath, coughing, dizziness, loss of appetite, and vomiting on the first day," he said. "Thankfully, I am not on a ventilator. However, I am receiving an oxygen supply." He's also hooked up to an IV.
Because of the hospital's COVID-19 visitor restrictions, Karim's family and friends have not been able to be with him. "It’s always hard to see someone you love in this
position, so they are frustrated that they can only sit down and watch," he said.
But Karim's physicians are optimistic about his situation. "My doctors feel confident that I will make a full recovery," he said. "They are very nice and give me a lot of hope."
"I decided to document this journey to spread awareness, as well as for everyone to see that this virus is not a joke. The only way to fight it is if we follow guidelines. ... It really only takes one infected person to spread it to a lot of other people," he said.
Let Karim's story serve as a reminder that this virus affects people of all ages, and is especially dangerous to those who have underlying conditions. So please, everyone, just wear a mask. You can follow Karim's journey on his TikTok account, @karimsalmen.
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