TikTok Star with Coronavirus Warns Followers from His Hospital Bed: 'This Isn't Fun and Games'

Karim Salmen, a 23-year-old TikTok user with more than 180k followers, has been documenting his hospitalization while fighting coronavirus

Karim Salmen
Photo: Karim Salmen/Instagram

A popular TikTok star is using the platform to document his weeks-long battle with coronavirus symptoms that have left him hospitalized.

Karim Salmen is warning others about the dangers of coronavirus after he contracted the deadly disease earlier this month. During his hospitalization, the 23-year-old has uploaded nearly 40 TikTok videos that have given an intimate look into his recovery.

The videos have been humorous at times — one shows him slowly dancing to music after getting up from his hospital bed to use the bathroom — but others can be more heartfelt and serious.

"Update on Day 7," Salmen wrote in a video posted to his TikTok page on July 16. "I had to get moved to the ER, but still going strong. The hardest part has definitely been seeing my family's support, but them feeling like they can't do anything about it, and tearing up when talking to me because they don't know what can happen."

That same day, an exhausted Salmen filmed himself receiving oxygen.

"Please this isn't an easy virus to deal with, wear your mask!" he wrote in the video. "I cannot stress this enough, this virus is no joke. PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASKS."

covid 19 test

In one video filmed shortly after his hospitalization, Salmen detailed some of the symptoms he was experiencing, such as a loss of appetite, increased bathroom use due to antibiotics, dizziness and difficulty breathing.

"Hoping to feel better and get out soon, don't forget your masks," he wrote on July 25. "This isn't fun and games."

During an interview with BuzzFeed earlier this month, Salmen said he suffers from an underlying medical condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare chronic disease that causes obstructions in the small airways of the lungs. He also has pectus excavatum, a malformation of the chest wall. Underlying medical conditions are known to increase a patient's risk of dying from coronavirus.

Salmen told BuzzFeed he had been quarantining for months, but he believes someone close to him may have exposed him to the disease.

"I decided to document this journey to spread awareness, as well as for everyone to see that this virus is not a joke," Salmen told the outlet. "The only way to fight it is if we follow guidelines."

"It really only takes one infected person to spread it to a lot of other people," he added.

RELATED VIDEO: Man Says His Final Goodbyes to Wife of Almost 30 Years Shortly Before She Dies of Coronavirus

Salmen is hopeful he will be leaving the hospital soon since his overall condition has been improving. His lungs just "need a little more time to get to 100 percent," he said in a video posted on Thursday, the 21st day of his battle with the disease.

According to a New York Times database, also f Thursday evening the United States has seen more than 4.4 million cases and 152,287 deaths due to coronavirus.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Related Articles