Bethesda Magazine recently had an important article called “What it’s like to be a COVID long-hauler.” The articlel describes the stories of several local residents who were once very functional, productive members of our community, whose lives were upended because of symptoms due to Long COVID or Long Haul COVID.
These stories demonstrate the impact of Long COVID. Symptoms of Long COVID are many and can be severe, lasting for many months. Patients can have physical symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or chest tightness, cough, changes in taste or smell, and even muscle and joint pain. Patients can also have mental issues as well including problems with memory, concentration, “brain fog”, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and headache. Some patients even have unusual sensations in their body (electrical, buzzing, pins and needles) that appear to be unique to COVID infection.
The stories also talk about the response from the medical system, which range from limited help to frank “gaslighting” of patients whose doctors didn’t even believe them. Unfortunately, the article does not mention that there are in fact treatments for Long COVID that can help with the symptoms and restore patients’ functionality so they can get back to their lives.
Author Matthew L. Mintz, MD, FACP