'Survivor' Star Phillip Sheppard Struggled With COVID-19, Says Coronavirus Is 'Nothing Like The Flu'

Phillip Sheppard is getting candid about his experiences battling COVID-19. The two-time Survivor contestant said in an interview with Cynthia Wang published in On Right Now that his experience with the virus had been "difficult."

Sheppard said that he believes he contracted the virus during the week of February 20, which was when he met a friend who had returned from a trip to France and Italy. Just two days after that meeting, he fell ill and went to the emergency room. On that trip, Sheppard was sent home after doctors told him they believed he had a urinary infection. Out of an abundance of caution, Sheppard decided to self-quarantine anyway. During his quarantine, his symptoms continued to worsen.

"I noticed that my lungs would not allow me to take a deeper breath, and while I could hold my breath, I could not do it for very long. My heart bothered me, my lungs felt tight, and fatigue set in during the shortest of activities," he said.

Sheppard also said that the sweat through his bed. The virus also exacerbated his existing joint problems, and he had a sore throat, dry cough, and a fever of over 100 degrees. He said the virus also impacted his heart and caused his arteries to swell. The reality TV star said that it hurt to breathe and that he contracted bronchial and urinary tract infections because of the virus.

Sheppard came in second in Redemption Island in 2011 and also competed in Caramoan in 2013. When he called his doctor in March, he was told that the protocol in place at the time did not allow him to be tested. Eventually, he was prescribed antibiotics and pain meds, and he also changed his diet to make sure it was low in salt.

Even as he described his symptoms, Sheppard also emphasized that the virus should be taken seriously.

"I think many people think it's like the flu, or they won't get it. The truth is it's nothing like the flu," he said.

The Survivor star said that thus far, his recovery has gone incredibly well. After he saw people in public who weren't taking all the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus, he felt it was important to share his story. He encouraged Americans to follow the guidelines that have been put in place by medical professionals, and also reminded those reading that this would be a defining moment in history that future generations would look back on.