U.S. News & World Report: How Do Post-COVID Care Clinics Help Long COVID Patients?
U.S. News & World Report recently interviewed Cedars-Sinai infectious disease expert Catherine Le, MD, about how post-COVID-19 clinics help patients whose symptoms persist weeks or months after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Lingering symptoms affect an estimated 10% to 30% of COVID-19 patients, and possibly up to 10 million people worldwide, according to experts.
Among the symptoms experienced by these so-called "longer hauler" patients are brain fog, lost sense of taste or smell, shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, anxiety and heart problems. The condition is more common among women and younger, healthier individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
Le told U.S. News & World Report that these clinics were created because long haulers were afraid to seek medical attention during the pandemic, and some patients felt their symptoms weren't being taken seriously. "Things were falling through the cracks," said Le, who is co-director of the Cedars-Sinai COVID-19 Recovery Program.
Le told U.S. News & World Report that patients with long-term symptoms should seek a referral to a post-COVID-19 clinic. If there isn't one nearby, they could ask their primary physician about evaluation for underlying heart or lung issues, depression, anxiety, and the need for pulmonary rehabilitation, which has improved symptoms in the majority of these patients.
While the road to recovery may be challenging, Le told U.S. News & World Report there is good reason to stay positive. "People do get better and there is light at the end of the tunnel," she said.
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