Symptoms from COVID-19 can last many weeks, even months, and manifest in strange and unexpected ways. In Britain, the National Health Services (NHS) has formed clinics for long-covid, as they call these persistent cases, as well as support groups. The United States (U.S.) should follow their lead. At the moment, in the U.S, where we refer to prolonged symptoms as Long-Haul Covid, people have been searching for and forming their own support groups through Facebook and Slack. By reaching out to other COVID-19 survivors with symptoms lasting two weeks or longer (the definition of “long-haulers”), people have even taking research into their own hands via surveys amongst the group.
While people experiencing long-COVID report a list of 64 or more potential lingering symptoms, the top 10 include shortness of breath, chest tightness, fatigue, chills, sweats, body aches, dry cough, low grade fever, headache, and “brain fog” or difficulty concentrating.
Of note, “long-haulers” who have persistent symptoms generally did not require hospitalization when they first caught COVID-19.
There is much to learn about this condition; with “citizen scientists” taking the lead, they are learning from one another. But, similar to England, the medical community in the U.S. should be finding ways to better support and care for COVID-19 sufferers with long-term complications.
By Jacki Hart, MD