COVID patients have persistent symptoms weeks or months after diagnoses

Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:15 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - There is still a lot to learn about COVID-19, but health experts are quickly realizing the virus can leave lasting side effects, especially in the lungs.

Our Kate Smith spoke with the head of Huntsville Hospital Post COVID-19 Unit about what he is seeing weeks, even months, after a patient has been given the all clear.

Even after you’re no longer COVID positive, there could still be lasting symptoms from the virus.

“We see them every day,” said Doctor Jason Smith. “It varies from shortness of breath, fatigue, to I am just not the same person.”

Doctor Jason Smith is the director of the Huntsville Hospital Lung Center. He’s also running the post COVID-19 unit. He has taken thousands of chest X-Rays throughout his career but something about a post COVID lung is catching his attention.

“Characteristic of COVID is this ground glass. If you think about ground glass on a parking lot that has been ground in real fine, that is what it looks like in a Chest CT.”

Surprisingly, the severity of patients’ initial COVID-19 infections were not a factor in their post COVID symptoms.

People who’d managed the virus at home were as likely to feel unwell as those who’d been hospitalized.

“I would say most folks who are having problems never went to the hospital.” The good news is lung damage after COVID-19 does seem to improve, although albeit slowly. “I’ve had some folks after a month or so they are fine or some have taken three or four months. Once you are over it, you’re over it. I haven’t seen any post asthma post diseases; I haven’t really seen that.”

Because it hasn’t been a year since the pandemic’s onset, Doctor Smith said it’s too early for evidence-based studies to show the entire impact of COVID-19.

“We don’t have any science on this right now. The science is only six months old which doesn’t tell us anything about ‘hey what I am going to be a year from now?’ I don’t know.”

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