SAN ANTONIO, Texas – After contracting COVID-19, many individuals have faced ongoing symptoms, such as breathlessness and fatigue, worsened depression and an altered sense of smell and taste. These negative effects interfere with their everyday lives and change their daily routines.
Individuals who were once healthy have felt the overwhelming impact of coronavirus, as it has affected their overall quality of life and health, even though they were not hospitalized at the time they contracted the virus.
Post-COVID patient and Washington D.C. resident Jesse Reichenbach has suffered with fatigue and altered senses. 23-year-old Reichenbach contracted COVID-19 a few months ago and is still suffering from post-term effects.
Reichenbach says the most prevalent long-term effect he has had is fatigue.
“This has definitely been an on-going symptom. I am always really tired. I don’t have the motivation I used to have. Since contracting COVID, I just feel like sleeping all the time,” Reichenbach said.
This prolonged fatigue makes it hard for Reichenbach to perform daily activities that he used to enjoy participating in, such as going to the gym. Not only has Reichenbach suffered physically, but has also experienced worsened mental health issues with the onset of prolonged symptoms.
“Since getting COVID-19, my mental health has diminished a bit. It makes me depressed that I can’t focus solely on going to the gym or be as healthy as I used to be,” said Reichenbach.
Reichenbach also lost his taste and smell due to COVID-19, and it has not been the same since. Reichenbach said this alteration to his senses has had an effect on his diet, adding that many of his favorite meals are no longer appetizing to him.
The phenomena of loss of taste and smell has occurred among many individuals, such as 23-year-old Ruby Buckman.
Mother-of-one Ruby Buckman suffered from a loss of taste and smell during her infection with COVID-19, and is now suffering from altered senses.
“Months after I contracted COVID-19, my taste and smell never went back to normal. Things that usually smelled good to me now just smell different, and the same with taste,” Buckman said.
Buckman says the newfound alteration to her senses was something she would have never expected and was initially difficult to deal with.
“It was strange to get accustomed to at first. Now it’s kind of just the new normal,” Buckman said.
Persistent symptoms of COVID-19 were reported by more than one-quarter (26.6%) of people 18-39 in a control group of 234 participants, according to research conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine.
This study also found the most persistent symptoms experienced were fatigue and loss of the sense of smell or taste, with 13.6% of patients suffering from these symptoms. Many of these patients were outpatients with a mild infection of coronavirus.
Registered nurse Alyssa Forte said that there have been quite a few patients returning to the hospital she works at after contracting mild cases of COVID-19 with prolonged symptoms.
“A majority of the patients always do come back or at least call our hotline for medical advice,” Forte said. “It was mild COVID patients that had those symptoms the most.”
Forte reaffirmed the findings of the UWSM study and noted similar persistent symptoms of her recurring patients.
“The most common COVID-19 lingering symptom would be shortness of breath and fatigue. Those kind of go hand-in-hand with each other. That’s the most common complaint and it takes a long time to overcome the fatigue,” Forte said.
Forte said that after contracting COVID-19, individuals should rest frequently and practice decent nutrition in order to help combat the virus. This is especially true with patients experiencing persistent shortness of breath and fatigue.
Forte also offered some tips on how to avoid contracting COVID-19 in the best ways possible.
“Wear a mask, stay six feet apart, get vaccinated and limit your contact with exposure and others especially if they themselves have been [tested] positive,” said Forte.
Research conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine reveals that the various prolonged symptoms that are most common in COVID-19 patients are fatigue, a loss of sense of smell or taste and brain fog. A large majority of outpatients saw a decline in their quality of life as related to their health.
Previous research conducted by UWSM is compared to studies carried out by Frontiers in Medicine, analyzing the persistent symptoms at the post-viral stage of COVID-19. These studies reveal similar statistics, with many individuals suffering from widespread symptoms, neurological and olfactory alterations and abnormal lung functions.
The study conducted by UWSM reveals the assorted demographics affected by prolonged symptoms of COVID-19. This study reveals those most affected fall in the age gap of 65-years-old and over, yet also show a similar result throughout various demographics of those afflicted.
The study conducted by Frontiers in Medicine reveals the rate after infection at which patients develop persistent symptoms of COVID-19 from one to six months after initial infection. About 14-21 days after defeating the virus, 31% of individuals found themselves with recurring symptoms that had initially gone away – such as altered senses. After 1 month of being rid of COVID-19, 63% of individuals found themselves developing these prolonged symptoms. The results vary over the course of several months during the post-viral stage of the disease.
Studies conducted by the Children’s Clinical University Hospital in Latvia reflect similar findings to previous data that presents persistent fatigue as the most common issue after contracting COVID-19. This research reveals that the younger demographic obtains similar issues to older demographics regarding ongoing symptoms, with children suffering from ongoing issues such as loss of sense of smell or taste as well.
This audio story focuses on two individuals who have contracted COVID-19 already and are taking steps in preventing any future infection. Both Ruby Buckman and Brandy Torres are attempting to maintain healthy immunities via differing means and routines, with the hope of avoiding the development of any future health complications as a result of COVID-19.
Two post-COVID patients detail how they have been impacted by the virus after contracting it, from suffering from ongoing fatigue to worsened mental health problems. The virus has ably affected both individuals both physically and mentally, with alterations having to be made to their daily routines.