Long term effects from COVID-19

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People who test positive for COVID-19 could have more to worry about than just the initial infection.

Patients who become infected with COVID-19 can experience symptoms including loss of taste and smell, fever, shortness of breath and fatigue.

But even after recovering, some symptoms could still linger.

“There are people that are, we’re already starting to call the COVID long haulers. And I don’t know who came up with that term, but the long haulers appear to have a longer, more fatigued like syndrome afterwards. And we’re still trying to sort out what that really means,” Dr. Jeremy Cauwels said.

Sanford Health Dr. Jeremy Cauwels says more research is needed to determine which patients will have long term effects, and what those long term effects will be.

“There are concerns that there’s cardiac toxicity associated with this virus occasionally, although it seems very rare. There were even concerns about lingering effects in the brain and the lingering effects in the brain are really poorly characterized right now,” Cauwels said.

While there are still a lot of unknowns, he says this virus in particular seems to be better at forming blood clots than most.

“And because of that, there’s a great deal of discussion in the medical literature right now about whether or not blood thinners are the right thing to do and what doses they are while people are in the hospital. And even whether or not blood thinners are the right thing to do for people as they leave the hospital,” Cauwels said.

He says patients who are hospitalized will be put on blood thinners to prevent clots from forming.
And something Dr. Cauwels wants to remind everyone– there’s no ‘testing out’ of quarantine.

“If you’ve been exposed to somebody and they say you’re out for 14 days, one of the things that’s important to recognize is that, that you could get COVID on day three or on day eight or on date 10 or 11. And that’s why quarantine last 14 days. And the most important part to remember is a negative test on day three. It doesn’t clear you for 14 days,” Cauwels said.

Something he says people should be prepared for, all in an effort to protect others.

Dr. Cauwels adds that there are rare instances of complications where the virus affects the heart muscle in relatively young and healthy patients.

He says patients who test positive for COVID-19 but aren’t hospitalized should monitor for symptoms including chest pain or tightness and shortness of breath as regular activities are resumed. If these symptoms present, call your doctor.

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