Who becomes a Covid Long Hauler?
We hear a lot about COVID Long Haulers and the symptoms they experience, but are there any predicting factors for becoming one?
It’s interesting, because while we are hyper-focused on Long Haulers as they relate to COVID-19, long-haul symptoms after a virus illness aren’t uncommon. Prior to COVID, they weren’t discussed much in the media, but it’s not uncommon for a viral illness to create lingering symptoms. In fact, I developed asthma after a mysterious lung illness that hit me when I was a medical student. I have no idea what the virus was, but it knocked me off my feet for several weeks. I also want to call your attention to another recent podcast I did that relates to post-viral symptoms: PANDAS in kids who get Strep throat. Dr. Hyman, the former director of the NIMH, joined me on Causes or Cures to discuss it. It describes psychiatric and neurological symptoms in kids who recover from Strep throat. Most parents, and even most doctors, don’t know much about it. As bad as COVID has been, it might put ALL of these post-viral symptoms on folks’ radar and encourage more research.
In this podcast, I chat with Dr. Chuck Downs about his ongoing research on COVID Long Haulers. He discusses predicting factors for who becomes a Long Hauler ( including age, sex, BMI); one’s risk of becoming a COVID Long Hauler when he/she has asymptomatic COVID vs symptomatic COVID; the most common long-haul symptoms and how long they last; if vaccinations help Long Haulers or not, and the predominant theories about why long-haul symptoms happen in some people.
Through my public health work, and even conversations with friends, most people are concerned about long-haul symptoms. They are less worried about death, and in fact, most people I talked to who were on the fence about getting the COVID vaccine, ended up getting one because of concern over long-haul symptoms. Vaccination is a personal choice, but it’s definitely true that a higher percentage of folks recover from COVID and battle with long-haul symptoms, some more frustrating than others.
Who is Dr. Downs?
Dr. Downs was the Associate Dean for Research at the University of Miami and is an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. He and his team have published several papers on COVID long-haul symptoms, and they have more research in the works.
Hope you guys tune in, subscribe and please share the podcast! It’s entirely an independent effort. To listen to “Who becomes a COVID Long Hauler” click here.