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How COVID-19 Affected My HS

COVID-19 has changed our world. I was ordered to work from home in 2020 and I had a huge fear of catching COVID-19. I knew it could jeopardize my health, or even my life. I was lucky enough to be part of the first wave of people able to get a vaccine due to my full-time job. However, this did little to ease my anxiety.

Coping with COVID-19 the best that I could

After over 2 years, COVID-19 made an appearance in my home. My roommates and I tested positive in May 2022. I had horrible symptoms: extreme body aches, high fever, headache, congestion, cough, sore throat, and exhaustion. This was worsened by the anxiety I had because I was afraid of COVID-19 taking my life. As I fought to keep my fever from soaring and treated the other symptoms, my HS was flaring in a way that I hadn’t felt in years and it complicated my care.

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Before this event, my HS was being managed with minimal flares. I was adapting to an increase in my Inflectra (Remicade) infusions and managing my other chronic health conditions.

I can say I have never felt 100%. But overall, I was coping and thriving as best I could.

From thriving to surviving

During my illness, I went from thriving back to surviving. Because Inflectra can lower your immune system I did qualify for Paxlovid, which is designed to lower the risk of hospitalization. However this also meant I could not get my infusions or take my other medications, including spironolactone. This also led to more flares and pain while I dealt with the COVID-19 symptoms.

I was fortunate enough to recover without serious complications. I still have a lingering cough and congestion, as well as brain fog and exhaustion. But I am just grateful to be alive and able to return to work. Dealing with COVID was hard, but my HS has been unbearable.

My HS flares are back... and worse

Now, I am able to get my Inflectra infusions again. I hoped that this would alleviate my flares and get me back on track. I was wrong. My HS symptoms have increased and worsened with more flares than ever and abscesses the size of golf balls in sensitive areas. I have not felt this much pain in years.

Trying to get back to work with multiple flares is a miserable experience. At times, I am barely able to walk or move my arms. Dealing with these HS flares has worsened my mental health and other chronic health conditions. I am not sleeping as well due to the chronic pain. I have resorted to applying to FMLA for HS and my mental health. This is something I have never done before and it's causing more anxiety.

To cope, I reached out to my dermatologist to get injections and an emergency dose of clindamycin, scheduled more therapy appointments, and I am taking more time off work to rest and get my sleep back on track. My body has much more healing to do but I am trying to stay positive and take the time I need to get back on track.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HSDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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