Protecting Yourself: Young woman with autoimmune diseases self-isolates

ASHLAND, Ore.– A young woman from Ashland has decided to self-isolate not because she has the coronavirus but because she has several pre-existing conditions that put her at a much greater risk. Like many others, she’s taking the necessary precautions to protect herself and her loved ones.

Ciera Cox, 23, suffers from autoimmune disorders such as Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease as well as asthma. She says because of her disorders, she can get sick for longer periods of time and her immune system isn’t as strong.

Since Monday, Cox has been working from home and avoiding any contact with public areas. The recent college graduate says she’s been lucky enough that her job is allowing her this option, especially when so many people have been losing their jobs in a wave of layoffs across Oregon and the U.S.

“I’m feeling lucky to have a job I get to work from home because I know some people are not so lucky, they’re losing their jobs, they’re getting laid off,” she said. “So I’m trying to make the most of it.”

While she’s still working to keep herself occupied, she’s taking extra precautions on where she goes and who comes into the apartment.

“I’ve been limiting the flow of people in and out of my apartment to just like my roommate, her boyfriend, my girlfriend. As few people as possible,” she said. “But I’m still pretty nervous.”

Cox is still trying to make the most of her situation. As a self-described extrovert, she misses social settings. She doesn’t go to any public areas other than the occasional walk outdoors. But Cox does have some friends to pass the time including two guinea pigs her roommate, an elementary school teacher, brought from the classroom.

“I think just do anything you can to feel normal,” said Cox. “Just find something that you really enjoy doing like I love to play my ukulele so I’m seeing this as an opportunity to practice and learn new music and write new music.”

Like many people, Cox is preparing for the long haul. She doesn’t know how long she’ll be in this situation but with a wall separating her from others she still waves and smiles, hoping soon everything will return to normal.

“I’m trying to remember that it could be so much worse. It’s going to be ok,” said Cox. “I’ve got hobbies to keep me entertained, I’ve got my roommates to talk to and hang out with. I’ve got some pets in the house. So it’s all good, it’s going to be ok.”

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