Quarantined When You Have a Chronic Illness


Lisa Alioto

20 April 2020 22 comments

As anyone with a chronic illness knows, life with one isn’t always easy.  In fact, it can be downright hard.  As a student, there’s can be an extra layer of challenges as you are also trying to manage a course load at the same time.  And then throw in the Corona Virus.

Being “At Risk”

The scary fact is that you don’t know what this virus will do to you and your compromised immune system.  Will you react much the same as others if you get it or will it take you down for months, perhaps leaving some permanent scars.   It’s that unknown piece that scares the bejeebers out of me.  What will happen if…..

Being Young and “At Risk”

For those of us much younger than the average “at risk” individuals, some extra challenges come into play. First, if you have an invisible illness, people may simply not believe you.  Second, if your stores have special hours for “at risk” individuals to shop, trust me, we will get stares for our young age.  Many think we are “sneaking” in to get in when the shopping is good.   When in reality we are just trying to practice good healthcare habits given our situation.

Life “At Risk” 

It sometimes can be very easy to try to put our illnesses on the back burner.  In short, try to forget that we have a chronic illness.   Either because our symptoms are at a minimum at the moment or because they’ve just become our new norm.

The Corona virus has changed all that.  We now must think constantly before we go anywhere or touch anything that has been potentially “exposed.”  And all this means that we are thinking more about our illness. It’s become as front and center as it was when we first got diagnosed.  I don’t know if you are like me or not, but I don’t want it there.  I want it on the backburner of my life as much as possible (even though in reality it is always front and center).

To be quite frank, this is a lot to deal with for anyone. I think when you are young though there’s this added layer of issues.  When you are older, as my parents have told me, you expect illnesses will crop up.  As someone that is quite young still, I don’t expect to be handed a chronic illness and told to deal with it.  For decades upon decades.  It not only is unexpected at our age but there’s the added fact that we will be dealing with it for much longer.

Realistic Optimism

I always like to end on a happy ending, which is a bit hard with this topic but one thing the Corona virus has taught me is some good skills that I will carry over when this is long over.  Washing my hands much more frequently to prevent other illnesses.   Social distancing when others are sick to prevent my compromised immune system to go into overdrive.   Safe to say, a few very good take-aways from this whole tragic situation.

What about you?

Are you “at risk?”  What do you find most challenging?  Have you encountered “at risk” young adults and questioned their activities?  If so, hopefully this is an eye opener – chronic illnesses do not age discriminate.  Even if you are not “at risk” how has this virus affected you as a young adult?



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22 thoughts on “Quarantined When You Have a Chronic Illness

  1. That’s a good way to think about it, all the positive habits this is teaching us. I’m trying to do that as well to keep myself from getting too overwhelmed.

  2. Lisa Alioto

    I definitely think that while as scary as this is now, there is some positives that we can take away from it, esp. for those of us at risk.

  3. This post has really made me think about how this period is impacting different people. I can relate to the crazy overthinking of whether to touch something or not but I hadn’t thought about how people would react to a young person during the earlier shop hours! Thank you for sharing Lisa!

  4. Lisa Alioto

    You are very welcome Millie – I’m glad you found the article insightful! 🙂

  5. Charity says:

    I couldn’t imagine being in this pandemic time with a chronic disease. I am already worried enough as is and I don’t have a chronic illness. I feel so sorry for those that do! I hope this will all be over soon!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I hope it will be over soon for all of us too Charity – the sooner the better!

  6. I like that you are finding positives and good skills to take from this challenging situation. I think that is such a good way to look at it, otherwise the fear and anxiety can get so overwhelming at times. Hope you are doing okay and stay safe <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I hope you are doing well too Bexa and staying safe. Thank you for dropping by and commenting!

  7. I think when things have moved to what will be the new normal there will be a lot of lessons we’ll have learned. First and foremost, not to take anything for granted any more. Some thoughtful points here, Lisa, thank you for sharing, and stay safe x

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Lisa – yes, I totally agree that there will likely (hopefully) be a lot less that we take for granted.

      1. I have a few lifelong health conditions that don’t put me in the high risk category, but also doesn’t mean I’m in the same boat as other healthy people my age. Which means I’m at a higher risk of dying if I contract it, but I’m also not entitled to any assistance to help me avoid catching it. Which is a sucky position to be in

        1. Lisa Alioto

          It sounds like you are caught right in the middle Unwanted Life! I hope you are able to stay safe and virus-free!

  8. Chloe Faulkner

    Great post. I’m finding the whole thing a bit odd to be honest. I feel less guilty about being unable to do or attend certain things than I usually would. Because everyone is in the same boat as me, and this genuinely isn’t my fault, I think I’m coming to peace with the new normal.

    If that makes sense.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      It makes total sense Chloe. I hadn’t thought about it like that before but I realize now that I too am feeling less guilty for being less active with my friends because of my illness since it’s just not a possibility for any of us right now. Great point!

  9. I am not at risk, but this has definitely changed some of my habits. You are correct in saying that it has taught us some positive takeaways.B

    1. Lisa Alioto

      There definitely are some positive takeaways here for us all, aren’t there? I think we will all be for the better once this is over Brooke!

  10. I have diabetes which is a weird one because it doesn’t make me massively more at risk than the average person and I’m generally speaking very healthy but it always gets lumped in with the high risk category because of a lot of the complications that can come with either badly controlled diabetes or type 2. I don’t consider myself any more at risk than the average person in my age bracket which I think is helpful in terms of stress levels. I’d hate to have that extra level of worry. It’s great that you’re putting a positive spin on it x


    1. Thanks Sophie – and I’m glad to hear you aren’t in the “at risk” group! Take care!

  11. There are a few in my family with chronic illnesses, and it certainly adds to the worry.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      It certainly does – thanks for sharing Adam. Wishing you and your family much good health!

  12. I totally understand. I’m on 4 immunosuppressant medications, and even if I were to stop taking them, my immune system would still be suppressed for 6-12 months. It’s scary!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      It is, isn’t it Stacy! Hopefully this virus will make things safer for us in the long run overall too, teaching everyone the habits that we already practice daily.

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