Shania Twain is opening up about her terrifying experience battling COVID and pneumonia concurrently.
In a recent interview with The Mirror, the beloved country singer got candid about the “nightmare” health scare that left her struggling to breathe. While staying at a house in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Twain fell seriously ill and had to be “air evacuated” to the nearest hospital. Her respiratory symptoms were “progressively getting worse,” the 57-year-old artist recalled, and this was during the peak of the pandemic, so she didn’t want to take any chances.
Her husband, Frédéric Thiébaud, called the nearest hospital for “hours and hours” over the course of multiple days to arrange the trip. At the time, hospital beds were in short supply, so doctors told Thiébaud to keep monitoring Twain’s symptoms until they had an opening. “[He] was freaking out, to be honest,” Twain recalled. “He was really panicking because he was the one having to pull it all together.”
The air evacuation in particular stands out in her mind: “It was like science fiction, I felt like I was going to another planet or something. It all kind of happened in slow motion.”
When she finally made it to the hospital, Twain was put in isolation and diagnosed with COVID and pneumonia. Doctors gave her plasma therapy to ease her symptoms. She made a full recovery, but it took “several days” for Twain to build up antibodies and begin to feel better.
“It was a very dangerous time and very scary,” she recalled. “I made it through, and I’m just so grateful.”
The whole ordeal inspired a new song called “Inhale/Exhale Air,” which will be featured on her sixth studio album, Queen of Me, out February 3.
This isn’t Twain’s first major health scare. Years ago, the “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” singer was diagnosed with Lyme disease from a tick bite. The autoimmune disease damaged the nerves in her vocal cords, leading her to wonder if she would ever be able to sing again. In 2018, she underwent a successful open-throat surgery to strengthen her nerves.
“I may not be able to [sing] forever,” she told People last December, “but right now I’m just enjoying where I am.”
Although Twain’s cautionary tale occurred during the height of the pandemic, let it serve as a reminder that COVID is very much still a thing. The virus had its most recent peak in late 2022, with cases surging nationwide. To make matters worse, this spike occurred at the same time as a brutal flu season and an “unprecedented” outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Luckily, case numbers for all three respiratory illnesses are now declining.
To keep yourself and your family safe this winter, the CDC recommends getting the annual flu shot and the bivalent COVID booster. Both vaccines are FDA approved for everyone ages 6 months and up.
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