The Bachelor's Colton Underwood Says 'It's Still Hard to Breathe' as He Recovers from Coronavirus
“I’m doing okay,” Underwood, 28, tells PEOPLE. “But it’s still hard to breathe. I feel like I only have access to about 20 percent of my lungs. My breath is shorter, and I’ve had to train myself to talk differently with my breath. And I have to lie down and rest a lot.”
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The former football player is currently hunkered down at the family home of girlfriend Cassie Randolph, 25, in Huntington Beach, California.
“I’m taking the home isolation very seriously,” says Underwood. “I’m isolated to a room and Cassie brings me my food with gloves and a mask on.” (He says Randolph and her family have yet to present any symptoms.)
Underwood, who also recently opened up to PEOPLE about his upcoming memoir, The First Time, says symptoms began with “a mild headache and body aches.”
Eventually, “the red flag was that I was waking up in profuse sweat,” he says. “I’d wake up and the bed would be soaking wet and I would be cold and shivering. That was the final straw, and I was like, ‘I need to get tested.’ ”
After Randolph tried to qualify Underwood for two tests and he was rejected, he was put in touch with a doctor who had tests available. Still, “there was no special treatment,” says Underwood. “I got tested as Colton Underwood, not [the Bachelor]. I was just fighting for my health.”
His decision to share the news on March 20 was an easy one.
“Once I found out I tested positive, I didn’t have a hesitation in sharing it. I think people needed to hear from someone they could relate to. And I also wanted to communicate my diagnosis to the people I’d been around in the last week or two,” he says. “It’s not something to be ashamed of. But it was important to share.”
Underwood is currently taking two kinds of medication and relying on an inhaler to help with his shortness of breath.
“I’m trying to stay isolated and hopefully be a decent leader and communicate with people about what’s going on,” he says. “Though I don’t know if I’ve been a good job with that lately because I’ve been so tired and sleeping most of the day.”
Still, slowly but surely, “I’m doing a little better each day,” says Underwood. “I hope I’m turning a corner.”
And he has a message for fans. “This is not a fun experience, no matter how old you are,” says Underwood. “Everybody needs to take this seriously, both for themselves and the people you love.”
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