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Coronavirus long haulers: Sufferers of ‘long COVID’ experience symptoms for months

1 month ago 18

Sufferers of “long COVID” are speaking out about experiencing a series of long-term symptoms from the virus, months after being diagnosed.

Richard Evans contracted coronavirus five months ago but is still feeling the effects to this day.

The Victorian man is a keen snowboarder and told 9 News he used to go running every day, but he’s now struggling with headaches, respiratory issues and random pain.

Mr Evans said the symptoms are making his life “difficult”, as he says months on he hasn’t recovered as much as he expected to.

He said his lung function has been particularly affected. He warned others, “You don’t want to get it.”

Sometimes called “long haulers”, the people experiencing long term effects from COVID-19 have few places to turn for official information on the new disease. The lack of official guidance has meant sufferers are increasingly turning to online groups to share their experiences.

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One large Facebook group for coronavirus survivors recently conducted a survey with 1500 respondents, which found many were experiencing long-term symptoms not yet formally recognised by official health organisations.

The symptoms included headaches, hair loss, crippling fatigue, body pain, eye complaints, psychiatric problems and numerous other symptoms.

The Indiana University School of Medicine helped compile the results of the survey into a study, and suggested the longer term effects of the virus were much more broad than what is currently listed by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Actor Alyssa Milano also recently revealed she was a long hauler and shared a video showing how the disease had caused her to lose her hair.

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An epidemiologist from Texas who caught the virus in March wrote about suffering the long-term symptoms of coronavirus earlier this month. Margot Gage Witvliet was hospitalised for her illness. She is still experiencing symptoms months after being discharged from hospital, including tinnitus and fatigue, she wrote in The Conversation.

“My heart still races even though I am resting,” Margot wrote. “I cannot stay in the sun for long periods; it zaps all of my energy. I have gastrointestinal problems, ringing in the ears and chest pain.” She said she is also contending with “extreme fatigue, brain fog and headaches” and has to spend most of her day resting.

Before being diagnosed, Margot said she was “young and healthy, a non-smoker with no pre-existing health conditions”.

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