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On Friday, HGTV star Erin Napier shared with fans that she, her two-year-old daughter Helen, and 64-year-old mother, all might have had coronavirus. In a lengthy Instagram post, the Home Town star explains how she had fallen ill with a strange sickness back in January, but has since recovered.
After a trip to New York City for a guest appearance on TODAY on January 9, Napier returned home, only to wake up 11 days later, on January 20, with some general gastrointestinal issues. Napier still went into work that day, however, “by 5 pm, I noticed I kept getting chills and checked my temperature and it was 100,” she writes. According to the Center for Disease Control, those infected can start showing symptoms within two to 14 days, which would match up if Napier had been exposed to the virus in NYC or since returning. After taking Aleve, Napier continued going about her regular schedule. But she still didn’t feel normal. A few days later, she wrote in her journal: “I feel like I have a cold, but not really. It’s like a half-cold. No congestion, but I can’t stop coughing. Still have low fever.”
Napier texted her friend, who is a doctor, about her symptoms on February 2. She had tested negative for the flu that day, despite having had an on-and-off fever for weeks. She also was feeling fatigued, and had developed a cough, which was not going away despite her having taken medicine. Napier returned to the doctor on February 7 for bloodwork, where she was told “Everything looks pretty normal. Just a viral thing, most likely.” On February 20, the star’s symptoms had resolved. Napier’s mother and daughter had shown similar symptoms, while her husband and father had not.
A few days ago, Napier consulted her doctor friend again, who reviewed the star’s bloodwork from February. The friend believed that Napier’s low level of lymphocytes could have actually been a result of COVID-19. While it is not certain what the star had (although widespread serological testing may help her get an answer), Napier seems to believe that she had gotten the coronavirus. “I wonder how many of us already encountered it and beat it unknowingly?” she writes. She also offers some advice “I wish I didn’t see so many cars in the parking lots and entire families going inside stores to buy groceries. Please, please. Keep your families at home. Let one person go in and out as quickly as possible,” she writes.
We’re sure glad to hear that Napier and her family are feeling better and appreciate how candid the star was about her scary experience. Napier’s post serves as a reminder that anyone can catch the virus, even if it seems unlikely (as COVID-19 wasn’t as prevalent in the states in January), and not every case is life-threatening—or shows the same symptoms. Your best defense? Practice social distancing and keep washing your hands.