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Rita Wilson was “shocked” to learn that her jet lag symptoms were actually COVID-19



Rita Wilson and her husband Tom Hanks were some of the first celebrities to announce they had been diagnosed with COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. And Wilson says she first attributed her symptoms to jet lag and appearances at the Sydney Opera House.

Before she was diagnosed, Wilson took care to maintain social distance, clean up surfaces, and avoid shaking hands even before those strategies became commonplace, she told Insider. So it makes sense that when she first started experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and nausea, it assumed it was due to jet lag and performance. She also experienced a loss of taste and smell early on, she says.

But her symptoms got worse and she was “completely shocked” to learn that she had COVID-1

9. Hanks previously told National Defense Radio that Wilson’s symptoms were much more serious than his, including a high fever and tremors. She also took the antiviral drug chloroquine, which caused “extreme side effects” such as muscle weakness, dizziness and nausea, she said earlier in an interview with CBS This Morning. These are known possible side effects of chloroquine, explains Medline Plus, but nausea and muscle pain can also be symptoms of the coronavirus.

The symptoms of the coronavirus can include a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of taste or smell, explain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, some of these symptoms can feel similar to other medical conditions, including allergies and the flu. And at the onset of the illness, when it’s likely to be less severe, you may mistake the symptoms for something like jet lag. Also, some people with COVID-10 never develop noticeable symptoms, SELF previously explained.

“I never want to get it again,” says Wilson. “Thankfully we got lucky and are here to talk about it and hopefully get people to take their health seriously.” Now as we near fall, Wilson says she is “taking no chances” and is doing everything possible to prevent both COVID-19 and the flu. As a 63-year-old breast cancer survivor, she knows that she is at greater risk of serious complications from both diseases.

Her experience with breast cancer taught her that “You don’t believe that you will ever be the person who gets it and then it is you,” she told Insider. “You can get it, get COVID-19, and get the flu.” And she’s partnered with The Race to 200 Million, a campaign to get 200 million Americans vaccinated against the flu this year in partnership with the American Nurses Association.

In addition to social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand washing, the best way to stay healthy this fall and winter is with a flu shot. Of course, the flu vaccine will help you protect yourself from the flu. On a larger scale, vaccinating more people will help reduce the burden of the flu on our already stressed medical system.

But you may need to be a little more proactive than usual to get your flu shot this year, especially if you usually rely on your employer for the vaccine, SELF previously explained. Instead, you can get one at many drug stores, pharmacies, and emergency centers, as well as vaccine promotions set up by local health authorities. The best time to get the vaccine is from September to October, according to experts. Now is the time to find out when and where to get yours.

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