Major COVID-19 Side Effects, According to Dr. Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke at the University of Montana's Annual Mansfield Lecture and issued a warning: For some people, COVID never ends. Fauci says there are many "people who get a classic COVID-19 illness. But then instead of recovering, they get chronic signs and symptoms that can be mild, or it can be debilitating." It's called post-acute COVID syndrome (PACS), or Long COVID. "And you're not alone. There are many, many people who have the same thing as you do." Read on to see if you have any of the symptoms—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You May Have Fatigue
Dr. Fauci considers fatigue to be a common PACS symptom, and in the past has compared it to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), which is "a disabling and complex illness," according to the CDC. "People with ME/CFS are often not able to do their usual activities. At times, ME/CFS may confine them to bed. People with ME/CFS have overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest. ME/CFS may get worse after any activity, whether it's physical or mental."
You May Have Brain Fog
Dr. Fauci said an "inability to concentrate" can be a common sign of PACS. Brain fog is also a hallmark symptom of ME/CFS. "Most people with ME/CFS have trouble thinking quickly, remembering things, and paying attention to details," says the CDC. "Patients often say they have 'brain fog' to describe this problem because they feel 'stuck in a fog' and not able to think clearly."
You May Have a Whole Constellation of Symptoms
During the panel, a mother and her child appeared. "My son Hudson was an energetic, healthy honor roll soccer player, seventh grader, and got hit with COVID in mid November," she said. "While my husband and other young son recovered, Hudson continued to decline. Now, three months later, Hudson is living in constant pain. He has dizziness, migraine headaches, nerve dysfunction affecting his heart rate, and often affects his breathing at night. His eyes are so affected that he can't read or write. He also has enlarged heart arteries, a malfunctioning intestine, liver toxicity, swollen lymph nodes throughout his abdomen and continued nausea and vomiting, and weakness of his left side that looks similar to a stroke….Hudson's body is being affected," she continued, "like a tornado." (Here is the full list of 98 Long COVID symptoms.)
You May Have Constant Headaches or Migraines
"Hi, Dr. Fauci," said Hudson, the seventh grader. "Every day when I wake up, I have constant migraines, severe headaches, and, um, I'm super dizzy. My stomach hurts. I vomit, my heart races and I can't read right now. Other doctors can't help me. Can you help me?" Read on to see what Fauci said.
What to Do if You Have Long COVID
Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, but be aware that there's no cure. "We don't know enough about it," Dr. Fauci told Hudson. Funding, he has said, has been devoted to figuring it out. "But we hope that there is spontaneous recovery from this so that whatever aberrant mechanisms are going on in your body. Clearly the virus triggered something in your system….that has gotten out of control. And we hope that the body's own mechanisms will recalibrate and over a period of time, get you back to normal. I can't promise you that, but I'm hoping that [it] might ultimately correct itself." Until it does, seek help from a medical professional, join a support group like Body Politic, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.