Supporting the "Long-Haulers" of COVID-19

Post-Acute Covid Syndrome
By Cheyenne Tyler Jacobs

It has been two years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and most people are waiting to see what the new normal” looks like for the world. WHO says over 450,000,000 people have been infected with Covid-19. Many lives have changed due to the social, economic, and health impact that came with the 2020 pandemic. Many individuals are facing the realization that they will become long haulers.

The CDC defines “Longhaul Covid” or “Post Acute Covid Syndrome” as a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers are still uncovering why symptoms persist or appear weeks after infection, and one theory is the overstimulation of the immune-inflammatory response. Another theory is that our viral defense system’s extended usage causes long-term issues weeks and months after initial infection.

So the question becomes, how many people are impacted by post-acute covid syndrome? The number of people is unknown, but researchers know that anyone can experience long-haul symptoms. In home-isolated, young (16 to 30 years old) nearly 60% reported persistent symptoms at six months after the initial illness. Some experience shifts to normalcy during those months, while others are in a limbo of uncertainty.

Symptoms of long-haul covid can look like:

  • Breathing Issues
  • Heart Problems
  • Brain Fog
  • Loss of Taste and Smell
  • Cough
  • Joint Pain
  • Anxiety and Depression

These symptoms can also be frustrating because they mirror other illnesses or chronic pains we might deal with outside of covid. This pandemic has been challenging, and those with long-term covid symptoms have another component of the pandemic to navigate.

The good news is as we lower infection rates and raise vaccination rates, research is diving deeper into studying long-term covid and its treatments. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched a $1.15 billion multiyear research initiative to study the trajectory of their symptoms and long-term effects. Numerous hospitals within the US have also opened long covid clinics incorporating holistic approaches with their clinical practice. Researchers are working tirelessly to gain answers and solutions, but in the meantime, some methods could be beneficial to individuals. Most treatment is individualized and will advocate for psychological counseling due to sudden changes in the quality of life.

HUED offers a directory that connects Black, Latinx, and Indigenous patients with culturally humble medical providers—finding a healthcare provider who is validating your experience and can work with you to find other routes of care.

The impact of our pandemic has been tough on so many of us, and some days it feels we will not reach out “normal”. So we encourage you to stay safe and stay up to date with the new research and findings of covid-19 and long-haul covid.

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Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.