Already Had COVID? These Symptoms May "Never Go Away"
While many people won't become seriously ill with COVID or deal with short-lasting symptoms, for others that's not the case. Millions are experiencing a wide range of symptoms for weeks or even months after the initial infection of the virus and researchers are still baffled as to why they have PASC (post-acute sequelae of COVID-19), or "Long COVID." "While it might seem like forever now, in the medical world, COVID is still considered relatively new – which means we're still learning new things about the virus daily. So far what the CDC has identified as long-term effects range from a series of general symptoms, respiratory, heart and neurological symptoms," Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary's Hospital tells us. There's now growing concern that some symptoms are never ending and Dr. Curry-Winchell, who has been treating COVID patients since the beginning, explains what signs of COVID may never go away. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
What Should People Know Right Now About COVID?
Dr. Curry-Winchell reminds us that, "COVID is out there and prevalent – this hasn't changed. We're seeing more and more people being infected, especially in higher populated areas, but with less severe symptoms – thanks to the vaccines widely available. If you're not vaccinated, consider re-visiting the question 'why' — to ensure that decision is based on credible information. It's not worth risking your health over misinformation."
Should People Stop Trying to Avoid COVID and Get It Over With?
"This is the most common question I'm hearing these days," Dr. Curry-Winchell reveals. "While yes, it seems like nobody is safe from COVID, it's important to take steps to ensure you and your family are protected. If you contract COVID and you are vaccinated plus boosted there is an increased chance you will have milder symptoms. It is important to try and avoid getting COVID because it could impact you or your family's life based on the symptoms you experience. This could lead to missing work, cancelling an upcoming summer vacation, and changing the status of your overall health."
Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "Since COVID primarily attacks your respiratory system, we've seen it can produce scarring and other permanent problems in the lungs. After COVID, even small infections can cause shortness of breath or make you feel 'winded' easily."
Loss or Distorted Sense of Smell and Taste
"We've seen the coronavirus has the ability to affect cells in the nose, causing an altered or loss of those senses," says Dr. Curry-Winchell. "For some this goes away in a few weeks, for others the symptoms persist. While it's not life-threatening, it can certainly be devastating."
According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, "COVID can leave people with inflammation of the heart muscle which could also lead to shortness of breath, palpitations, and rapid heartbeat. It's interesting to note, those who have experienced just mild cases of COVID, can experience these symptoms too."
Fatigue, Neurologic Issues and Other Symptoms
Dr. Curry-Winchell reveals, "It's still not known why, but we've noticed a lot of people are experiencing constant fatigue, brain fog, frequent headaches, and dizziness. A lot more research needs to be done, but it's what we're seeing on the ground." The CDC says you could have the following:
- Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as "post-exertional malaise")
Respiratory and heart symptoms
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as "brain fog")
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness)
- Pins-and-needles feelings
- Change in smell or taste
- Depression or anxiety
- Stomach pain
- Joint or muscle pain
- Changes in menstrual cycles"
The CDC also adds: "People with post-COVID conditions may develop or continue to have symptoms that are hard to explain and manage. Clinical evaluations and results of routine blood tests, chest x-rays, and electrocardiograms may be normal. The symptoms are similar to those reported by people with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) and other poorly understood chronic illnesses that may occur after other infections. People with these unexplained symptoms may be misunderstood by their healthcare providers, which can result in a long time for them to get a diagnosis and receive appropriate care or treatment. Review these tips to help prepare for a healthcare provider appointment for post-COVID conditions."