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Long Haul Symptoms: effects lasting months after COVID-19 recovery

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Doctors are talking about the symptoms people have months after recovering from COVID-19.

“I get phone calls and emails every day from our primary care doctors who have patients who are describing these constitutional symptoms and everybody’s desperate,” said Dr. Robin Trotman, with infectious diseases at CoxHealth. “It may be fatigue, it may be bizarre neurologic complaints, but it’s a real part of this disease.”

These long-term symptoms referred to as the “long-haul” are not contagious.

“You can’t find ongoing, replicating virus in these people’s airways,” said Dr. Trotman. “What it is is the inflammatory response. It’s the body trying to fight the virus, and it kind of runs unchecked.”

Dr. Mahdu Pendurthi, a pulmonary critical care specialist at Mercy, said the long-haul symptoms are still a mystery.

“We don’t know the effects on their performance in terms of memory and functioning and intellectual capacity,” said Pendurthi. “We don’t know all those things.”

Trotman says the symptoms could still impact your daily life.

“If you have long haul symptoms and you aren’t well or able to go back to work or work in the hospital, that’s equally impactful to somebody coming into the ICU,” said Trotman. “If I don’t have nurses and staff coming into the hospital because they have these lingering symptoms, then we have other risks.”

Dr. Pendurthi said on Tuesday he visited with a 44-year-old patient who has been struggling with long-haul symptoms as long as 4 months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He tells KOLR 10 it’s extremely difficult to predict how long the patient’s symptoms will last.

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