A pandemic diary: The long road
September 13, 2022
You had Covid and it wasn’t much more than a cold. Or maybe you spent a couple of days in bed but were soon back at work, the gym, and the pub. Only now you’re badly fatigued, short of breath, and you have a brain fog that won’t quit.
You may be dealing with long Covid, one of the most mystifying and frightening effects of the pandemic. Though the condition was identified in 2020, the World Health Organization says it’s still “poorly understood” by doctors. Unfortunately, millions of us will be living with this horror for years to come. These are the sobering facts from the WHO and CDC.
- More than 200 symptoms are associated with long Covid.
- Besides the ones mentioned above, they include joint pain, digestive disorders, headache, dizziness, depression, trouble sleeping, numbness, and changes in menstrual cycles.
- Some patients get autoimmune disorders or multiple organ issues that in turn cause other problems like diabetes, heart and neurological conditions.
- There’s no test for long Covid. Your routine results (blood, x-rays etc.) might be normal.
- Nearly one in five American adults who’ve had the virus has long Covid symptoms.
- Younger adults are more susceptible than older ones.
- People who had severe Covid, had pre-existing conditions, or weren’t vaccinated are at higher risk of becoming long haulers. However, anyone who’s been infected can get it.
All the people who’ve tuned out the pandemic probably don’t grasp how debilitating long Covid can be or even that it exists. But imagine being in the prime of life, running marathons and climbing mountains, and suddenly being unable to work or even walk.
The only way to be certain this won’t happen is to never be infected in the first place, which due to a combination of luck and caution I haven’t been. So get one of the new boosters and hold onto those masks, even if you’re the only person in your circle, office, or subway car who’s wearing one. It’s worth it to avoid what could be a lifetime of struggle and pain. Take care and please be safe.