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Shortness of breath, fever, loss of sense of smell and/or taste, and dry cough are a few of the more temporary manifestations of COVID-19. However, one of the scariest aspects of COVID-19 is the fact that some people continue to experience symptoms of the virus long after they have cleared it. During a Thursday interview at a University of Virginia School of Medicine virtual event, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed that some coronavirus survivors are experiencing some serious prolonged symptoms of the virus — some who aren't even that ill in the first place. Read on to hear more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Symptoms Include Severe Fatigue and Brain Fog
"There is a syndrome that is now being more widely recognized of individuals who cleared the virus, and so they are virologically free or cured as it were," Fauci explained about long hauler syndrome. He added that it is impacting "individuals who don't necessarily get hospitalized, those who've maybe been at home for a couple of weeks or three or more, as well as those who've been hospitalized up to and including people requiring intensive care."
"In the recovery period after clearing of the virus, a certain percent — and we're trying to figure out what that is it looks like it may be somewhere around 25 or so percent, but that awaits further study — have persistence (and when I say persistence, I'm talking about weeks to months and maybe even longer) of extremely bothersome and in some cases, incapacitating symptoms and signs," he continued.
What are the symptoms of this prolonged illness? According to Dr. Fauci they include "severe fatigue, shortness of breath — such as athletic people who now have difficulty climbing one flight of stairs — temperature dysregulation, or a dysautonomia as they call it"—that'd be "medical and neurological problems that interfere with the flow of sensory information and/or motor output," according to PM&R — "as well as tachycardia"—a heart rhythm disorder—"that are unexplained." He added another impacting a "substantial proportion" called "brain fog or an inability to focus or concentrate one's thoughts."
One study claims that 10 percent of COVID-19 survivors qualify as long-haulers, remaining "unwell" after three weeks. However, CDC research found that only 65% of people had returned to their previous level of health 14-21 days after a positive test.
How to Avoid Long Hauler Syndrome
The best way to avoid long hauler syndrome is to keep yourself from becoming infected in the first place. No matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.