“Hard to believe but it was almost a year ago,” long hauler Travis Smith says.
Smith is an avid runner and says he is pretty active. He contracted COVID-19 almost a year ago and while he has recovered, he is still dealing with lingering effects.
“Dealing with shortness of breath, severe attack cardia episodes, chest tightness, fatigue. It was difficult to have a normal life,” Smith says. “It was frustrating as a patient to be told maybe it’s in my head.”
That was months ago, before doctors knew much about the long-term impacts of COVID-19. Now, the University of Utah is taking steps to help COVID-19 long haulers, opening up a clinic specializing in areas to evaluate long hauler symptoms.
In particular, they will be researching whether a vaccine will reduce symptoms.
“So the nice part about this clinic is there is a research coordinator embedded within our intake process and we are able to identify the patients and ask them if they are willing to participate based on their symptoms,” John Inadomi, MD, Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine says.
Smith says the best advice is to be your own advocate, which is why he helps run an online support group called Utah Covid-19 Long Haulers, to help people like him who are struggling to find treatment.
The clinic opens on June 21 for both in-person and virtual appointments and will run as long as there are patients to treat.
Patients can call 801.213.0884 for more information
The U joins Bateman Clinic in Northern Utah with similar services.