As I fall into the extremely vulnerable group, I’ve been staying home since mid-March, and will be here until at least the end of June (I’ve come to terms with the fact that it is likely to be longer than this). It’s not without its challenges but our family are finding our way and have our coping strategies.
I take immunosuppressants so I’ve also been using the Covid19 Symptom Study app by Zoe and Kings College London since the end of March after it was shared with me by a friend. I was pleased to hear that Kidney Care UK were also supporting the app and was glad to be taking part in real world, real time research.
I was able to see just how the team behind the app is working with the government and the NHS just recently when I reported a rash on my back. I’m still not sure what caused it but for around a week I had an itchy red rash on my back so I recorded this on the app. The next day I was contacted to ask me to take a coronavirus test, because the research was showing that certain rashes and burning sensations were an early symptom of the virus
Within 24 hours I had received a home swab kit and was arranging a courier to come and collect it the next day. It felt very real all of a sudden. Whilst I didn’t think I did have coronavirus, I was glad to get the chance to check. But when you have a swab kit sat in front of you it changes your perspective a bit! I won’t lie, doing the actual swabbing itself was pretty vile but I personally preferred to do it myself than to drive to a centre and have someone else do it. The kit had a lot of instructions and whilst they were a bit overwhelming at first, they laid it all out clearly and in a step by step process. Within a few hours the courier called me to ask me to put the test outside and minutes later he had been to collect it from the doorstep (socially distanced at all times).
I was told to expect the results in 2-3 days so assumed that as I was doing the test just before the bank holiday that it would be midweek before I found out. I was surprised to get my result on the Saturday by email and by text. It was, reassuringly, negative.
I’m still tracking how I feel every day using the app and have recorded my negative result on there too. It was an unexpected experience but I am pleased that I have been able to provide some data and evidence that will help researchers identify potential symptoms of covid19. If you’re thinking about downloading the app then I’d definitely say that it’s worth it. Tracking your symptoms literally takes seconds and the app is free too. But most importantly you are helping to gather real time data to help researchers understand how and why the virus is affecting people.
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