To Your Health: COVID "Long Haulers"

Jun 9, 2021

You might hear it referred to as “Long COVID” or “Post-COVID Syndrome” and the people who have it,  “Long Haulers.” Johns Hopkins Medicine describes it as, “lingering health problems” people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have, “even when they have recovered from the acute phase of the illness.”

Some of them may have been hospitalized with COVID, while others had mild cases, but what these 10-30% of COVID survivors have in common now may be breathing issues, heart problems, kidney damage, gastrointestinal upset, lost or distorted senses of smell or taste, trouble with circulation, neurological effects and/or mental health disorders. 

However, there has been an optimistic report from Yale where Akiko Iwasaki has been studying the effect the COVID vaccine has on people with post-COVID syndrome:  As many as 30 to 40% of those who get the vaccine have reported improvements to their symptoms. She has heard from people who say they no longer have ‘brain fog,’, or  stopped suffering from  shortness of breath. It's possible the vaccine clears up leftover virus fragments, interrupts a damaging autoimmune response, or in some other way "resets" the immune system. There’s more to study, but this is a hopeful sign in a condition that otherwise has no real treatment.

Resources:
• https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/covid-long-haulers-long-term-effects-of-covid19

• https://ym.care/46f

• https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/03/31/982799452/mysterious-ailment-mysterious-relief-vaccines-help-some-covid-long-haulers