AUSTIN, Texas - As the coronavirus pandemic continues, doctors are reporting that the virus has become a chronic condition for thousands of people all over the world in what's being called "Post-COVID Syndrome".
The syndrome is where a person is still experiencing debilitating symptoms or have those symptoms lingering long after they become infected with the coronavirus.
“As people recover from the initial infection, studies are starting to show that in some people, it might actually take weeks or even months to return to baseline health,” says Esther Melamed, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Dell Medical School, in a news release. “In fact, there's a new name that has been coined for people who have developed long-lasting symptoms. They’re called "COVID long-haulers."
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Melamed cites a recent CDC study which found that more than a third of people who tested positive for coronavirus had not returned to their pre-COVID health, two to three weeks after their initial infection. Even among young adults with no chronic medical conditions, nearly one in five reported that they were still experiencing symptoms 14 to 21 days after their positive test.
“These long-lasting symptoms can include trouble breathing, headaches, memory difficulty, overwhelming fatigue, and persistent loss of taste and smell,” says Melamed. “People can also experience worsening of pre-COVID conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and mood disorders.”
The CDC says that the occurrence of “Post-COVID Syndrome” has key implications for understanding the full effects of COVID-19, even in people who suffered only mild cases of the virus. Prolonged convalescence can potentially lead to extended absences from work, studies, or other activities.
“If you or your loved one has gotten sick with COVID-19, it is important to make sure that you're still getting care for other medical conditions that you had prior to COVID-19,” says Melamed. “And to get evaluated for any lingering symptoms.”