As COVID-19 stubbornly makes its way across the United States, many people are getting sick—and not getting better. They are dubbed “long haulers” and recognizing some of their symptoms can help you better understand the virus—and recognize if you have it, or have had it. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.
Some COVID-19 patients experience vertigo even after the virus has left their body. “I have equilibrium problems,” Bill Laforet, a former Mahwah Township mayor, tells NJ.com. He thinks he caught COVID after someone coughed on him at Wal-Mart, and the website reports, “five months later, he has recovered from the virus, but still continues to suffer from lingering and serious after-effects that continue to haunt him.” “Some cognitive issues,” he says. “It’s the strangest thing. After you get the flu, it’s over. This is not over by any stroke.”
“I’m not someone who rests a lot. My life is 150 miles an hour from 4 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., just go, go, go,” Julie Hakim, MD, told Texas Medical Center, which describes her as “a fit 40-year-old who co-founded FemTech Focus, a nonprofit designed to empower technology that improves women’s health and wellness.” But after she got COVID, “I couldn’t leave my bed. I would get up from my bed and go to one couch to the other couch. That’s all I could do. I was in tears on and off during the day.” And she still suffers to this day.
Diana Berrent, a suburban mom, told WBUR about her glaucoma diagnosis. “I had actually just gone to the eye doctor in January and the pressure levels were totally normal then — and here we are.” She “has been trying to tell people how serious this pandemic is since March,” reports the station. “Berrent is still battling symptoms nearly seven months after experiencing her most severe illnesses with COVID-19. She says she’s seen specialist after specialist for complications with her eyesight, gastrointestinal tract and recurring headaches….so she formed the online group Survivor Corps, where members document their symptoms, donate plasma, raise money for treatment and research, and provide support.”
Berrent “also has seen patients complain of a ‘very concerning degree of neurological issues,’ such as persistent, ‘soul-crushing headaches’ that leave people unable to do daily activities,” reports WBUR.
“Respiratory issues are the most common long-term symptom of long-haulers in the group,” Berrent tells WBUR.
“One day, after she tested negative, she ventured outside for a walk and some fresh air. One block and 10 minutes later, she felt her legs teeter beneath her,” Texas Medical Center writes of Dr. Hakim. “She struggled to take another step and had to sit down on her neighbor’s front lawn—crying from sheer exhaustion.” “It was terrible. I would walk a block or three blocks and I would just be completely depleted,” Hakim said. “I was completely destroyed. I would run out of gas. I didn’t have anything in me. It was like you worked out for four hours and your legs were shaky. I just couldn’t do anything.”
“To make matters worse, the spectrum of post-infection sequelae”—conditions that are the consequence of a disease—”is seemingly endless,” reports Texas Medical Center. “It’s a veritable mixed bag of symptoms, with people most commonly reporting cough, fever and shortness of breath. On top of fatigue, chills, sweats, body aches, headaches and difficulty concentrating, symptoms can appear in other parts of the body, including the brain, gastrointestinal tract, heart and skin.” “Consider it like a cluster bomb exploding in your body, having a ripple effect throughout your organs,” said Khurram Nasir, M.D., a preventive cardiologist at Houston Methodist Hospital.
“I felt this stigma like, ‘I’ve got this thing nobody wants to be around,'” Angela Aston told the New York Times. “It makes you depressed, anxious that it’s never going to go away. People would say to my husband, ‘She’s not better yet?’ They start to think you’re making it up.” She joined a support group called Body Politic. “Along with sharing their physical symptoms, many in the support group have opened up about how their mental health has suffered because of the disease. Dozens wrote that their months of illness have contributed to anxiety and depression, exacerbated by the difficulties of accessing medical services and disruptions to their work, social and exercise routines” says the Times.
“Thought I’d show you what #Covid19 does to your hair,” actress Alyssa Milano wrote on Twitter, along with a picture demonstrating hair loss. “Please take this seriously.”
Wrote Milano: “I was acutely sick w/ Covid19 in April. I still have many symptoms. I am what they call a ‘long hauler’. Last night, I had real heaviness in my chest. I went to the ER just to make sure it wasn’t a blood clot. Thankfully, it wasn’t,” she wrote.
“It is possible COVID-19 is neurotoxic and is one of the first illnesses capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier,” writes Margot Gage Witvliet, Assistant Professor of Social Epidemiology, Lamar University, who is a long hauler herself. “This might explain why many people like me have neurological problems. Many long-haulers are experiencing post-viral symptoms similar to those caused by mononucleosis and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.” These include a lowered ability to do activities that were possible before getting infected, cognitive issues like brain fog, extreme migraines and sleep problems. So far, there is no sure.
If you feel any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional immediately and visit the support groups so as not to feel alone. And do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss this entire list of Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.