UTAH (ABC4) – The coronavirus global pandemic has almost hit its year mark. Millions of people worldwide have contracted the virus and recovered, but what about those who never quite got over the impacts of the novel virus?
According to the Utah Department of Health, there is no way of knowing exactly how COVID-19 will affect you. While many Utahns who have contracted the virus appear to have “recovered,” as time goes on there are unfortunately many who never quite returned to how they felt prior to getting the virus.
Those who continue to suffer debilitating effects after contracting COVID-19 are being called “long-haulers.”
According to the Utah Department of Health, some studies and surveys with patients show that 50 to 80% of people continue to have bothersome symptoms up to three months after they contracted COVID-19, even though the virus is no longer in their bodies.
Many of the people experiencing long-lasting symptoms lived active lifestyles prior to getting sick. Months after initially contracting the virus, these long haulers say they are nowhere near returning to their familiar lifestyle, the health department shares.
Some long-haulers will not only battle severe COVID-19 related symptoms for weeks but for months. According to the Utah Department of Health, effects long haulers experience can include chronic fatigue, hair loss, blood clots, hearing deficits, tremors, body aches, tachycardia, heart palpitations and other cardiac issues, insomnia, cognitive issues, short term memory loss, vertigo, random adrenaline rushes, dysautonomia, anxiety, blurry vision, brain fog, and more. These symptoms often prove not only difficult for them but for their family and friends too.
Are you a long-hauler feeling alone and concerned? Good news! There are other Utahns in your shoes that you can connect with.
There are several social media groups that connect people all over the world to discuss symptoms, experiences, coping mechanisms, and possible treatments for lasting COVID effects. Through these groups, long haulers have been able to support each other.
Anyone is welcome to share their story and connect with others who have had similar experiences.
Lisa O’Brien is in month 10 of her COVID-19 recovery. She originally got sick back in March of 2020 and is a member of Utah’s COVID-19 Long Haulers Facebook page. She tells ABC4 she wants those struggling with prolonged COVID-19 effects to know they aren’t alone.
“For those struggling with a prolonged COVID-19 recovery, please know that thousands of us are right there with you; you’re not alone,” O’Brien shares. “I know it’s easy to feel discouraged when faced with so much uncertainty, but we already know so much more about this post viral illness than we did a year ago, and our lists of resources continue to increase, while ongoing research continues to expand.”
She says she hopes during this upcoming year “answers will be found, more treatment programs will be established, and we will get that much closer to a full recovery and back to who we used to be.”
O’Brien invites any Utahn struggling with post COVID-19 symptoms to seek support and resources through the Facebook group.
Here’s a list of social media groups specifically for long haulers to join: