A doctor's journey with COVID-19 reinfection

By The Health News Team | October 24, 2022
Dr Hans Crumpler of SharpCare Medical Group

Dr. Hans Crumpler, a family medicine doctor, has contracted COVID-19 three times.

COVID-19 affects everyone — even the doctors who diagnose it. Dr. Hans Crumpler, a SharpCare Medical Group board-certified family medicine physician affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, has diagnosed many COVID-19 cases — and experienced three himself.

Here’s what he shared about his experience.

Symptoms — from initial infection to reinfection
Dr. Crumpler’s first bout with COVID-19 included chest congestion, cough, loss of smell and taste, reduced appetite, body aches, fatigue, fever, chills, joint aches and weakness. Prior to getting COVID for the first time, Dr. Crumpler had not yet received the COVID vaccine and felt his body struggling to fight the infection.

One year later, Dr. Crumpler contracted COVID for the second time. By this time he had received the first two vaccines, but had not yet received the COVID booster. He felt fatigued and stayed in bed for two days — but unlike the first bout, he regained his strength after a week. He experienced similar symptoms, but for a shorter amount of time. And while he lost his appetite, he was able to eat and drink to help his body heal.

Dr. Crumpler had five months of good health before facing COVID for the third time. He felt “ready for the fight,” having received both vaccines and the booster. He stayed in bed for one day — then fully regained his strength four days later.

Thankfully, Dr. Crumpler never experienced severe respiratory symptoms and does not have any lingering effects. Yet as a doctor, he knows how important it is to not take the virus lightly.

“I take COVID very seriously,” he says. “I supported my body and targeted the symptoms in earnest.”

Treating his symptoms
Dr. Crumpler opted for over-the-counter medications for treating his symptoms, including saline and congestion relief products. At night, he used a vaporizer to help with sleep.

While he did not get the monoclonal antibodies, he does continue to prescribe them — especially for patients at high risk of progression to severe disease. He has found many patients benefit from monoclonal antibodies, and often report resolution of their symptoms by the next day.

Your questions, answered
After years of treating patients with COVID-19, and experiencing it himself, Dr. Crumpler knows the most common concerns about avoiding — and facing — the virus. He answers your top questions:

  1. Is someone immune to COVID-19 after they’ve had it?
    Research shows that the COVID virus continues to mutate, and these new variants present new infection risks. However, with each infection, evidence shows additional immunity builds and can possibly protect against developing severe disease with subsequent infections.
    With viral infections, our bodies create and remember the virus through antibodies we produce for those strains of the viruses. While we can still get infected, our bodies grow stronger, and can better fight future infections by the same or similar strain.

  2. Will herd immunity help protect us from COVID-19 in the future?
    Herd immunity happens when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease, either by vaccination or prior illness. This makes the spread of the disease from person to person more unlikely.
    Given the multiple complicating factors that COVID has presented, herd immunity has been difficult to achieve. It reinforces the need to get as many people as possible in our communities fully immunized, to help us better reach herd immunity in the future.

  3. Should we be concerned about COVID-19 as winter approaches?
    As flu season is upon us, and the weather is changing, we need to be even more vigilant in protecting ourselves from all illnesses — including COVID-19. Protecting ourselves protects others. Everyone is encouraged to get both their COVID and flu vaccines — and follow standard protocols, such as washing your hands and staying home when sick.

“No one wants to get sick, even me,” says Dr. Crumpler. “I have now completed my primary COVID-19 vaccine series, received one booster and I am scheduled to receive my second. My biggest recommendation is to get vaccinated, stay vigilant and stay healthy.”

Learn more about COVID-19; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News.

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