‘Post-COVID’ clinics are cropping up across the country: Here’s why

Lisa O’Brien plays with her dogs Jersey and Dottie outside of her home in Roy on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. O’Brien has suffered blood clots, tachycardia and excessive fatigue in the five months since she was sick in early March with what she and her doctors believe was COVID-19.

Lisa O’Brien plays with her dogs Jersey and Dottie outside of her home in Roy on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. O’Brien has suffered blood clots, tachycardia and excessive fatigue in the five months since she was sick in early March with what she and her doctors believe was COVID-19. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Christine Maughan knew something was off when she could no longer taste Sriracha, a spicy Thai chili sauce.

It happened in March, when COVID-19 was just beginning to creep into Utah and little was known about the new disease. When she also developed a rash, she thought it was just an allergic reaction.

But a few weeks later, Maughan was still experiencing symptoms like painful shortness of breath. “Whenever I would breathe, it felt like there were thousands of tiny knives in my chest,” she recalled.

By then, COVID-19 testing in Utah had opened to anyone with at least one of six symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches and chills, or decreased sense of smell or taste. Maughan tested positive for the new coronavirus, prompting 28 days of home isolation.

Seven months later, “I’m not the person I was before I caught COVID,” the 38-year-old says.

Maughan is one of hundreds of Utahns who say they’re experiencing what’s recently been termed “long COVID,” which can include a range of symptoms including inflammation, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and heart issues, among other things.

One Utah “long-haulers” Facebook group has grown to more than 500 people.

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Post-COVID-19 clinics

As many as 10% of COVID-19 patients experience symptoms for more than three weeks after their diagnoses, with some still having issues months later, according to international studies.

“We do know … a number of post-viral syndromes that occur and are a little better described than what we’re seeing in COVID, but there is some precedent for there being a subset of individuals who persist in having symptoms after a viral infection, including fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains, any number of psychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Adam Spivak, infectious disease physician at University of Utah Health.

Early research shows that the coronavirus is having serious consequences on the cardiovascular system.

However, Spivak said, “There’s still a lot of unknowns as far as what’s happening.”

Clinics dedicated specifically to treatment for those suffering from post-COVID-19 symptoms are cropping up across the U.S., where doctors hope to find answers, including in major health care systems including New York’s Mount Sinai and Mayo Clinic.

Maughan, the mother of an 8-year-old daughter, says that although she took precautions against the disease, she assumed that if she got it she’d be better within a few weeks. Though she’s grateful she survived and didn’t need hospital care, she’s now unable to do much of what she used to enjoy, including skiing, biking and hiking.

As part of a University of Utah Health study, Maughan said she was diagnosed with decreased function of her …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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