UC Davis wondering why months of persistent symptoms dog ‘long hauler’ COVID-19 patients

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DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — Marina Oshana’s antibody test showed that the nasty flu-like illness she had back in February was actually COVID-19.

“My chest started to hurt and I couldn’t breathe and I thought, ‘This is not right,'” Oshana told FOX40.

Now, “I get just out of breath almost immediately,” she said.

Oshana said she began to get symptoms in July and August after multiple negative COVID tests.

She is known as a “long haul” victim of COVID-19 who still suffers its effects nine months after being infected.

“We have patients who have minimal symptoms at first, and then, two to three months later, they start to experience shortness of breath and chest pain,” reported Dr. Christian Sandrock of UC Davis Health.

Other symptoms can be extreme fatigue, cognitive brain fog, prolonged loss of smell and taste, lung problems and blood circulation issues.

And then there are those who survive the ICU and don’t get persistent symptoms down the road, Sandrock continued.

“So, there’s no rhyme or reason and the initial severity of the illness doesn’t correlate with that persistence,” he said.

UC Davis Health has just started a clinic to study and treat the array of long-term medical problems caused by COVID-19.

“Some literature in some cohorts are reporting upwards of 20% have persistent symptoms, but really, we don’t have a good sense yet,” Sandrock explained.

And it’s too soon to say how long some of the symptoms will last.

Oshana said she can attest that surviving COVID is not like recovering from the common flu.

“‘It’s just the iteration of the flu, you’ll get over it’… You might not get over it. We don’t know,” she said.

Doctors have hope that patients like Oshana will fully recover.

The new UC Davis Health Clinic for so-called long-haul COVID sufferers hopes to gather more data on why symptoms persist and how to better treat long-haul COVID patients.

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