"Long-haulers are finding that the medical profession does not understand their conditions or how to treat them. Many Long-haulers have to fend for themselves as a result."
According to a study published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, even after the acute COVID-19 infection cleared, an overwhelming number of people who contracted the SARS-2 COVID-19 virus report a string of neurological problems including brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and numbness and tingling. Another study from the University of Washington that was published in February found that 32.7% of COVID-19 outpatients and 31.3% of hospitalized patients developed long-haul symptoms that included hemorrhages, blood clots, cardiac myopathies, digestive disorders, sleep disturbance, loss of taste and smell, among others. Currently there are over 100 reported Long-haul illnesses.
Experts are still working to define it. Some consider patients to have the syndrome if they continue to have symptoms four to six weeks after their initial infection resolves; others say 12 weeks.
Now, there is more and more evidence of people who didn’t even have severe cases of COVID being waylaid by this lingering, life-changing disease up to a year later.
That means that in the United States, where there are more than 32 million cases of COVID-19, as many as 9.6 million people may still be experiencing long haul symptoms after they no longer test positive for the virus.
Researchers are still exploring what’s behind this mysterious disease. One theory says symptoms are due to the damage caused by the infection and subsequent inflammatory response. Because long haulers exhibit a variety of different symptoms, doctors, hospitals and researchers are challenged to find the best way forward.
Despite the staggering numbers, there’s no clear way to diagnose long COVID and no standard treatment protocol. Some long haulers feel better after a couple of weeks following the initial infection but then fall ill to old or even new disease-related symptoms that may affect multiple organs and systems weeks or months later. For others, their symptoms never fully abate after the initial infection; they just linger and debilitate.
Long-haul diseases are poorly understood and research is urgently needed to understand the causes of the serious chronic illnesses caused by COVID-19. Without this understanding there can be no hope of cure.
The COVID-19 Long-haul Foundation with the assistance of its Long-haul Social Network is dedicated to finding answers to the cause of these chronic debilitating illnesses and to find the best ways to treat and find cures for Long-haul disease.