A university lecturer who was left "more intensely ill than I've ever been in my life" after being laid low by coronavirus has warned others there could be a delay in symptoms.
Shiraz Maher, a historian and director of an academic research centre, told his thousands of followers on Twitter he imagined he would be able to "shake" the illness if he got it, despite taking coronavirus "pretty seriously from an early stage".
He also criticised comparing coronavirus to the flu, noting it "did everyone a great disservice" and urged everyone to be "constantly vigilant".
The healthy 38-year-old wrote: "All it takes is one careless moment, one unthinking touch of your face, accidentally touching a contaminated surface once and suddenly, boom, you've got it."
Anyone can spread coronavirus. You must now:
▶️ Only go out when absolutely necessary for food, medicine, work or exercise
▶️ Always stay 2 metres apart 🚶🏾♀️↔️🚶🏾♂️
— NHS (@NHSuk) March 24, 2020
Coronavirus symptoms delay
Shiraz first experienced symptoms a couple of weeks ago with a mild fever that passed quickly. Unfortunately, however, that was not his final coronavirus symptom.
Still unsure whether he had contracted coronavirus or not, Shiraz wondered whether he had indeed "shaken it quickly".
It feels like there's something deeply lodged within your lungs, that they're (violently) trying to eject.
But then Shiraz took a turn for the worse as, following a short delay, his "lungs started packing up and my chest got very tight".
A resultant cough was "unlike anything [he'd] ever had before."
Much more extreme
Shiraz explained: "It was much more extreme and pronounced than a dry cough you might have during a bout of the flu.
"It feels like there's something deeply lodged within your lungs, that they're (violently) trying to eject."
"Of course, there's nothing to actually eject. The resulting cough is dusty, dry and painful.
"Much more scary is that you're unsure of when you'll stop coughing. You have no control over it. There were times I was worried I'd start vomiting because the coughing was so severe."
Shiraz also noted how the cough brought about severe headaches - and his lungs were left "in distress" and at one point he "fought" for breath for hours.
'Recovery is not linear'
"Coronavirus is particularly cruel. Recovery is not linear," he tweeted.
Advised by doctor friends that his blood pressure was dangerously high, Shiraz went on to ring 999 but the overstretched ambulance service was unable to assist.
He highlighted: "You should only call them in an absolute emergency. It's not a diagnostic service. The more unnecessary calls, the longer the delay in them answering becomes."
'You can help stop coronavirus'
A fortnight on, Shiraz feels he is improving - but feels it can affect different people in different ways.
He tweeted: "Some are shaking it off relatively easily. Others are suffering very badly. The most difficult part of this is the extent to which it takes hold within your lungs.
"I've lost several days of my life to this illness. Many, many other people will lose their lives to it.
"This virus continues to spread everywhere and you - literally, you - can help stop it with the most basic of efforts. Wash your hands. Stay at home. Do it now."
1,019 people have died due to coronavirus in the UK so far.
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