Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

COVID-19 Long Haulers

We as a country have been living with COVID-19 for just over a year now. By now you have probably heard of people with long lasting recoveries from COVID-19 infection. These long haulers, as they are commonly known, suffer from nagging symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, depression, brain fog, change in taste or smell, muscle pain, weakness, hair loss, and anxiety.

Post-COVID-19 or post-acute COVID-19 is used to describe those who have symptoms that linger for more than 12 weeks after their initial diagnosis. Unfortunately, there is no rhyme or reason as to who becomes a long hauler and who does not. It is estimated that about 10% to 30% of COVID-19 patients will become “long haulers”. There are now post-COVID 19 clinics specifically geared to help these patients.

Unfortunately, not much is known but research is underway. There is no available remedy. At the present time, what is recommended is symptom management. Most of us in the medical community are encouraging adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, and social interaction if possible. And remember to keeping a diary of symptoms so you can provide a detail account of your situation to your physician.

Finally Keep a positive attitude. Science is on our side, we will get through this.

Don't Let Your Guard Down!

With the beginning of spring and summer on its way, we can expect more people to travel and larger crowds everywhere. It is important that we do not let our guards down as COVID-19 is not gone. 

Social distancing, masking up, hand hygiene, and being vigilant about our surroundings can save lives. Especially in places where there is a high risk of contracting the virus, consider double masking.

With more and more strains of the COVID virus emerging, double masking has been a new trend among many individuals in an attempt to protect themselves and others. Layering a surgical mask with a cloth mask can reduce transmission rate. In addition, this will also provide a snugger fit.

Some pointers on masks:

  • Snug fit is important
  • Make sure to care for your mask appropriately
    • If it is a surgical mask, it should be thrown out after each use or if soiled
    • If using a cloth mask, it should be laundered like other clothes with the use in a washer and dryer. If hand washed, try to dry in the sunlight if possible.
  • Double mask if possible