By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For folks battling serious cases of COVID, a small percentage face another challenge when they exit the hospital: long-term consequences. These patients are called the “long haulers.”

“Why me? When is this gonna be over? Is this a permanent thing or temporary thing?” said Godfrey Edmond.

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Edmond got COVID in March. He had a long stay at Memorial Regional, where he was the hospital’s first COVID patient.

His lingering issues, he said, include, “Numbness in my left foot and right hand, and I am still doing rehab for it.”

“I have balance issue. I have a gape in my walk,” he added.

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And then there are some long haulers with lung issues, which is the specialty of Dr. Neeraj Sinha at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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“I think shortness of breath, among all symptoms, is the most concerning and that would need prompt attention from health care personal,” Dr. Sinha said.

There are a large number of potential long lasting symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Body Aches
  • Muscle or Joint Pain
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Chest Tightness
  • Chills or Sweats
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
  • Dry Mouth
  • Hair Loss

“There is no cure for most of those symptoms, except watchful waiting and follow up with the providers,” said Dr. Sinha, “and that is what I say for people that are having those symptoms.”

The advice is stay in touch with your doctor every step of the way.

“There is a lot we don’t know going forward and we are learning about how chronic symptoms are even after months of these symptoms being present. We will learn more as time goes by,” said Dr. Sinha.

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Most concerning is long-term damage to the lungs, which can lead to other complications such as heart disease.