After experiencing COVID-19 symptoms for several months, Alyssa Milano is giving a candid update on her health and speaking out about her frustrating experience with testing.
On Wednesday, the actress took to Instagram to share a photo of herself that was taken in April, shortly after her coronavirus nightmare began.
"This was me on April 2nd after being sick for 2 weeks. I had never been this kind of sick. Everything hurt. Loss of smell. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t keep food in me. I lost 9 pounds in 2 weeks. I was confused. Low grade fever. And the headaches were horrible. I basically had every Covid symptom," she described.
At the end of March, the actress took two COVID-19 tests and both came back negative. When she began feeling better, Milano took an antibody finger prick test to see if she had indeed had the virus. That test also had negative results.
But her journey didn't stop there. Over the next four months, the actress continued to experience the following lingering symptoms: "vertigo, stomach abnormalities, irregular periods, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, zero short term memory, and general malaise," she wrote.
At that point, she decided to get an antibody blood test (not the finger prick) from a lab, and finally got the results she'd been anticipating.
"I am POSITIVE for covid antibodies. I had Covid19," she wrote on Instagram.
NBC News contributor and virologist Joseph Fair also had a confusing testing experience this summer. Several weeks after he was hospitalized for what his doctors believed was the coronavirus, Fair got a negative result on his antibody test.
"Symptomatically, yes, I thought I had COVID," Fair told TODAY. "When I got the antibody results, I was even more confused. What would have caused almost identical symptoms and outcomes during the same time as a pandemic causing those things? I don't know."
During his hospital stay, Fair was tested for the virus several times and four tests came back negative, with one other showing a "weak positive," which isn't considered a reliable diagnosis.
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Milano said she decided to come forward with her story now to raise awareness and hopefully prevent additional cases of the virus.
"I just want you to be aware that our testing system is flawed and we don’t know the real numbers. I also want you to know, this illness is not a hoax. I thought I was dying. It felt like I was dying," she said, adding that she plans on donating her plasma to help researchers fight the virus.
The 47-year-old ended her post by encouraging her followers to take the virus seriously and stay safe.
"Please take care of yourselves. Please wash your hands and wear a mask and social distance. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt. Be well. I love you all (well, maybe not the trolls. Just the kind people.)❤️," she wrote.