A Panorama High School student is still dealing with the effects of COVID-19 three months after testing positive for the virus.

Junior Laci Rishel was spending her summer getting ready for the upcoming cross country, basketball, and soccer seasons when she contracted the virus in mid-July. Rishel says her initial symptoms were a severe headache, stuffy nose, and loss of taste. Following a 14-day quarantine Rishel tried to get back to normal life, and she describes what happened in August, “The first day of cross country practice we were running and I had passed out. Before that I had really bad chest pains but I kind of just ignored it and put it off, and I ended up passing out on the road and I had to get ambulanced to the hospital.”

Visits with Rishel’s family physician and a pulmonologist in Des Moines followed, who prescribed her with heartburn medication and an inhaler that she still uses twice a day. Rishel didn’t have underlying conditions, so the lasting effects from COVID-19 have been a shock, preventing her from participating in most of the cross country season. Rishel shares how she now feels about the virus, “It is really scary for me, I didn’t take this pandemic seriously at first and I don’t think a lot of people did. But I just hope people can hear this story and kind of just caution themselves to see what it can do to you.”

Rishel believes she is about 80% recovered from the chest pain and breathing issues she has had. She plans to keep exercising gradually so she can play basketball this winter. She’s also wearing a face mask at school, so she doesn’t have to repeat this experience or cause others to endure something similar.