What happens after patients recover from COVID-19?

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Most COVID-19 patients recover from the virus, but the after effects of the disease may still linger for some. Dr. Wendell Hoffman says this coronavirus can manifest itself in many different organs which can leave lingering symptoms. He says COVID-19 can involve systems like the heart, lungs and even nervous system.

The South Dakota Department of Health defines recovered as 10 days after the symptoms began and 24 hours after the fever has resolved and symptoms improved. However, Dr. Hoffman, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Sanford Health, says after a patient has recovered, it’s important to still check in with them.

“Particularly in the most ill of these patients. Therefore, it’s probably not surprising that patients can have persistent symptoms going longer term,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Dr. Hoffman says over 80% of patients can have a significant lingering symptom of COVID, according to a report out of Italy. He says doctors are also concerned about potential cardiac long-term effects.

Since COVID-19 is still such a new virus, doctors are still learning and discovering its lasting results.

“We really don’t even know how long these chronic symptoms will last. We have only been following this now for several months” Dr. Hoffman said.

For patients dealing with these long-term effects, Dr. Hoffman says you may still have the symptoms of COVID-19, but that does not mean you’re still contagious.

“What I try to describe this as, it’s kind of like a tornado comes thorough, a tornado does its damage, a tornado leaves. So, what we’re dealing with then is the aftermath,” Dr. Hoffman said.

The only thing that will help is time. Time for patients to recover, and time for doctors to learn more about the virus.

“Easy to say, ‘be patient this will slowly get better,’ that’s a very difficult thing to do. I think what they need, they need significant family support, they need our support from a healthcare system, they need a good thorough evaluation to make sure everything is going okay. Time will improve things. The patients that I have seen are getting better albeit slowly, so there is hope at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Hoffman said.

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