The long term effects of COVID-19

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COVID-19 is known for only lasting about two weeks, but new discoveries have made it possible to have proven everlasting effects.

Jamie Adams, Staff Writer

COVID-19 continues to top the global news daily, with new information, new discoveries, and new cases. The apparent two-week sickness might have everlasting effects, as researchers have stated.

While many people who have the virus recover completely within a few weeks, others are not so fortunate. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, so permanent damage to the lungs, heart, and brain is a possibility after testing positive. The more severe symptoms of COVID-19 include shortness of breath, high fever, and severe cough, which increase the risk of long-term health problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), “The lungs can be damaged by an overwhelming viral infection, severe inflammation, and/or a secondary bacterial pneumonia, leading to long lasting lung damage caused by COVID-19.”

Lung damage is not the only long term effect caused by COVID-19. Neurological damage has been sporadically reported recently in COVID positive cases.

Dr. Paul Wright, Senior Vice President and System Chair of Neurosciences, states that, “A small number of people who recover from COVID-19 have reported that they are experiencing neurological concerns such as headache, dizziness, lingering loss of taste or smell, muscle weakness, nerve damage, and trouble thinking or concentrating.”

Many of the patients who are having these lasting effects are between the ages of 30-60. These individuals are reporting “brain fog” also known as “COVID fog” as they feel that they are not back to normal months after contracting the virus.

With the side effects of losing different senses, the phenomenon of “post COVID parosmia” has sprung about. According to the CDC, COVID parosmia is “a condition where tastes and smells are distorted, and pleasant smells often become disgusting.”

After having the virus, some patients have been struggling to fully get their senses back, and often have reported their favorite smells now being unbearable.

BBC News did an interview with Kate McHenry, a woman who contracted the virus in March, and lost her senses. In mid June when she had fully retained her senses she stated that, “Everything started to taste weird, with normal odors being replaced as a horrible chemical stench.” The article mentions that this has affected her daily life, she has lost weight, and can barely eat at times because she is too overwhelmed by the stench.

Emma Berrie, a junior at Stephen Decatur High school recently contracted the virus and throughout her two weeks in quarantine, she stated that, “I felt fine for the whole duration, the only problem was I lost all ability to taste and smell.” As she has come to a full recovery, her senses have returned and she has not reported of any parosmia.

Researchers have concluded that around one of every 20 positive COVID cases, the individual is likely to experience some sort of parosmia. New cases are coming out daily, and experts are working diligently to figure out why, as the COVID parosmia is fairly new.