AUSTIN, Texas — As we continue to traverse the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, doctors have reported the virus has become a chronic condition for thousands of people all over the world.
Some people, doctors say, are even continuing to deal with lingering coronavirus symptoms weeks and months after first contracting the virus. They are calling it “post-COVID syndrome.”
“As people recover from the initial infection, studies are starting to show that in some people, it might actually take weeks or even months to return to baseline health,” said Esther Melamed, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. "In fact, there's a new name that has been coined for people who have developed long-lasting symptoms. They’re called 'COVID long-haulers.'"
In a short video, Melamed cites a CDC study, which found that more than a third of people who tested positive for coronavirus had not returned to their pre-COVID health, two to three weeks after contracting the virus.
According to the CDC study, nearly one in five adults 18 to 34 years old with no chronic medical conditions reported they had not returned to their usual state of health 14 to 21 days after testing.
“These long-lasting symptoms can include trouble breathing, headaches, memory difficulty, overwhelming fatigue and persistent loss of taste and smell,” Melamed said. “People can also experience worsening of pre-COVID conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and mood disorders.”
According to the CDC, the study's findings are key to understanding the full effects of COVID-19, even in people who suffered only mild cases of the coronavirus. Prolonged time spent recovering from the virus, or convalescence, can potentially lead to extended absences from work, studies or other activities, the CDC study said.
Melamed urged in her video for those who are potentially contact-traced to coronavirus patients to take proactive measures for mitigating the virus.
“If you or your loved one has gotten sick with COVID-19, it is important to make sure that you're still getting care for other medical conditions that you had prior to COVID-19,” said Melamed, “and to get evaluated for any lingering symptoms.”
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: