What it means to be a COVID-19 long-hauler


What it means to be a COVID-19 long-hauler

Although most people with COVID-19 appear to recover completely within a week or two, that’s not the case for everyone.
Unfortunately, some COVID-19 patients suffer from lingering symptoms weeks or months after their initial battles with the disease. Early estimates suggest 10-30 percent of people infected with COVID-19 are impacted.
“We are still learning about the long-term health implications of infection,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs for Tidelands Health. “What’s clear, however, is that COVID-19 isn’t just a respiratory illness but can have continued effects on the heart, brain and other major organs.”

Lingering symptoms

In a CDC study of so-called COVID-19 “long-haulers,” patients with lingering symptoms described continued struggles with joint pain, brain fog, headaches and fatigue weeks after the onset of illness. Others mentioned a persistent loss of sense of smell, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat.

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More serious long-term effects, such as heart inflammation, kidney injury and neurological complications, have also been reported following COVID-19 infection.
The CDC survey found that prolonged illness was evident even among younger adults without underlying chronic medical conditions.
“Multi-year studies are underway to better understand why some people struggle with long-term symptoms, and who is most at risk,” Dr. Harmon says. “Even people with mild infections who are never hospitalized can experience persistent symptoms.”

Protect yourself, others

To help people struggling with lingering COVID-19 symptoms, Tidelands Health has launched the Tidelands Health Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program, a comprehensive care and treatment program for COVID-19 long-haulers. The program provides customized care and support based on the specific symptoms a patient is experiencing.

Make an appointment today

If you are experiencing lingering effects from a COVID-19 infection, the Tidelands Health Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program can help. Make an appointment today by calling 1-866-TIDELANDS.

Dr. Harmon says the risk of long-term effects from infection is one of many reasons people need to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated against the illness. At Tidelands Health, the region’s leader in COVID-19 vaccination, walk-in vaccinations are available at sites in Georgetown, Murrells Inlet and Myrtle Beach. There’s no out-of-pocket cost to be vaccinated.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Gerald Harmon

Dr. Gerald Harmon, who has cared for patients in our region for more than 35 years, is a family medicine physician and vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health.

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