The story you’re reading was edited by a once-normal, healthy, relatively young man—a man who caught COVID in early March and is still, nine months later, suffering from fatigue, muscle aches and an inflammatory feeling coursing through his body. His life will never be the same. And the scary part is, it could happen to you. In fact, nearly ⅓ of COVID sufferers, dubbed “long haulers,” may experience similar long-lasting effects, according to a new study. When will these symptoms go away? No one knows when—or if they will at all.
On Monday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, called the issue “post-COVID 19 syndrome” at a seminar held by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. “Virologically a certain percentage, sometimes as high as one third, experienced lingering symptoms for weeks to months,” he said. Read on to discover the symptoms he outlined, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
“One of the most insidious long-term effects of COVID-19 is its least understood: severe fatigue,” reports Nature. “Over the past nine months, an increasing number of people have reported crippling exhaustion and malaise after having the virus. Support groups on sites such as Facebook host thousands of members, who sometimes call themselves ‘long-haulers.’ They struggle to get out of bed, or to work for more than a few minutes or hours at a time.”
Shortness of Breath
“Who I get are patients who two to three months later are still having shortness of breath, still having aches and pains, and maybe chest symptoms. Many of them are still on oxygen,” Dr. Dixie Harris, a pulmonologist at the Intermountain Healthcare hospital system in Utah, told MarketWatch. For some long-haulers, this may be because their lungs or inflamed; others may have costochondritis, an inflammation in their rib cartilage, or inflammation of the chest cavity.
Muscle pain is a symptom of COVID-19. Muscle pain that you still have months after suffering the virus can be a symptom of post-COVID 19 syndrome, says Dr. Fauci. According to Health. “the muscle pain associated with COVID-19 usually feels like ‘tenderness to the touch of the muscle or pain with movements of the muscle,’ says Amir Barzin, DO, MS, incident commander for the Respiratory Diagnostic Center at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.”
“Recurrent fevers, persistent constipation or diarrhea, intense bouts of fatigue, debilitating brain fog and vivid hallucinations — some people who catch COVID-19 experience symptoms like these for months on end, and we’re still learning why that is,” reports Live Science. “Some less common symptoms included high fevers and severe gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation lasting for weeks, bowel obstructions and diarrhea leading to rapid weight loss. Long-haulers also reported seizures, migraines, vision changes, sensitivity to light and phantom smells, or smelling things that aren’t there.”
“Dysautonomia refers to a group of medical conditions caused by problems with the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This part of your nervous system controls involuntary body functions like your heartbeat, breathing and digestion,” reports the Cleveland Clinic. “When the ANS doesn’t work as it should, it can cause heart and blood pressure problems, trouble breathing and loss of bladder control.”
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“Brain Fog” or Inability to Concentrate
“…which really means the difficulty concentrating,” said Dr. Fauci on 60 Minutes. Here’s more from the New York Times: “It’s becoming known as Covid brain fog: troubling cognitive symptoms that can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty focusing, dizziness and grasping for everyday words. Increasingly, Covid survivors say brain fog is impairing their ability to work and function normally.” ‘There are thousands of people who have that,’ said Dr. Igor Koralnik, chief of neuro-infectious disease at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, who has already seen hundreds of survivors at a post-Covid clinic he leads. ‘The impact on the work force that’s affected is going to be significant.'”
How to Stay Safe During the Pandemic
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in this story, contact a medical professional immediately. Otherwise, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place until there’s a vaccine available: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.