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COVID patients experiencing symptoms months after diagnosis

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CINCINNATI — Nearly two years after the start of the pandemic, researchers are still learning about the long-term effects COVID has on patients. Cassie Burton is still dealing with the lasting effects of long COVID and shares her message to others in the same situation.


What You Need To Know

  • UC Health in Cincinnati has a recovery clinic for those suffering from long COVID symptoms
  • Long haulers can experience symptoms for weeks or even months after infection
  • One of the clinic’s doctors has seen 500 patients with long COVID

Burton is a typical mom of two young kids, surviving on coffee. But this last year and a half has been especially challenging after experiencing long-lasting symptoms from COVID-19.

 

“The only thing that I really struggle with is the activity intolerance and my shortness of breath with that,” Burton said. “But even that is 10 times better than what it was.”

Burton tested positive for COVID in July of 2020, just a few months later she was admitted into the hospital with high blood pressure and knew something wasn’t quite right.

Burton still reflects on her diagnosis.

“Could it be that?” she wondered. “Could it be the long haulers or something related to COVID? And that’s when she referred me to Dr. (Richard) Becker.”

According to UC Health, long haulers are patients experiencing symptoms of COVID weeks or months after their diagnosis. Becker is with the Cincinnati-based healthcare system and was able to validate her symptoms and get her on a treatment plan including restricting exercise and adding medication.

“He listened to me,” Burton said. “No one had listened to me yet and that in itself was, like you said, a huge weight just lifted off me.”

Which has allowed her to feel like a normal mom again, planning her son’s birthday party, something that wasn’t always possible.

“They don’t understand it, which makes me feel guilty as a mom,” Burton said. “Like sorry babe, mommy can’t do it, mommy needs to sit down right now. I can’t play with you, I need to take a rest.”

But now, thanks to Becker, and Burton advocating for herself, she’s confident things will only get better from here. She encourages others that may be in the same position to ask questions and get answers for themselves.

“The long haulers is a real thing,” she said. “It can be mild, not have it all. To me, I kind of feel like I’m on the other end where almost two years later and I’m still struggling. So, ask, get the help that you need. That made the biggest difference for me.”

Becker shared his involvement with the University of Cincinnati Post-COVID Clinic. He’s seen about 500 patients, including Burton, with long-term COVID symptoms since the start of the pandemic. While symptoms range from shortness of breath, racing heart rate and difficulty focusing, it’s hard to say how long they will last.

“It is in the patient’s best interest to offer hope,” Becker said. “It’s difficult to offer definitive timelines because we don’t have that information. But we are committed to them and we’ll work together.

Becker says while they’ve come a long way with their research, there’s still a lot to learn.

 

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