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Research shows COVID-19 long-haulers getting symptoms in waves

Virus Outbreak Maine
Posted at 8:27 AM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 11:27:04-04

A year into the pandemic, we're getting new insight into the symptoms COVID-19 long-haul patients are experiencing.

New preliminary, unpublished research is showing long-haulers are getting symptoms in waves, so they have specific symptoms at regular intervals a few weeks apart.

Natalie Lambert at the Indiana University School of Medicine surveyed more than 5,000 long-haulers for this study. She says it starts with the acute phase when people have flu-like symptoms.

Lambert says the first wave of symptoms after the acute phase has things like arrhythmia and it seems to be neurological and cardiovascular-type symptoms.

“And then there's another wave after that that seems to have these more microvascular type problems like COVID toes, which I’m sure you've heard of. And then the much later wave at the end has things that could be related to thyroid function,” said Natalie Lambert, PhD, an associate research professor.

Not everyone in this study got all of these symptoms.

Lambert says her hope is that by finding out about the timing of the different covid symptoms, doctors can know on average when to look for them. Also, they can make sure patients are getting certain types of scans done.

She says long-haulers need recognition for what they're going through.

“If you have a friend who says that they're a long hauler, or a family member or coworker, to really believe them. And if some days they seem better and some days they're not, in two months later, oh now they have a new medical complaint that they didn't have before, that's common,” said Lambert.

If you are a long-hauler looking for support, there are a number of Facebook groups available. Survivor Corps is one Lambert has been working with for her research. It’s a public group and she says it's moderated well.