Take precautions to help prevent long-haul COVID
For the Gazette
PORTAGE COUNTY – Most people who have COVID-19 completely recover within a few weeks. However, some people, even those who had mild versions of the disease, continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery.
A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that more than half of people who had COVID-19 experienced at least one long-haul symptom six months or more after initial diagnosis.
“Long-haul COVID, or chronic COVID, or long-COVID or whatever they call it today, it references that people are having some long-term effects four or more weeks after they have been initially infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Noel Deep, MD, Aspirus Regional Medical Director.
Dr. Deep has been a physician with Aspirus Health for more than 20 years and is an internal medicine specialist who treats adults dealing with multiple health conditions.
Most people that suffer from long-term COVID-19 effects are older adults, but it is possible for a person of any age to develop symptoms that could lead to serious medical problems.
“It’s not just the symptoms that people are having, but it also causes a negative effect on the organs,” Dr. Deep said. “It can affect your heart, your kidneys, your brain and you could develop blood clots.”
Emerging research about the omicron variant has been cautiously optimistic. Despite its ability to spread at a rapid pace, the illness caused by omicron appears to be milder overall, at least among the vaccinated and those who have received a booster shot.
There are still a lot of unknowns about the omicron variant, but any optimism is of little consolation to anyone suffering from long-haul COVID.
“Prevention is the key. If you are eligible, please get your vaccine,” Dr. Deep said.
A recent study found that vaccinated people are half as likely to suffer from long-term COVID-19 complications.
“We need to be in this together. There are people in our families and our surroundings who may not be able to benefit from the vaccines,” Dr. Deep said. “It is on us to make sure that we take care of those who are vulnerable and prone to this infection in our community.”
COVID-19 vaccinations are available through Aspirus Health and numerous pharmacies in our communities. Boosters or initial vaccination series can be scheduled through Aspirus using the MyAspirus online patient portal or mobile app. Appointments are also available by calling the Aspirus COVID-19 Call Center at 844-568-0701 or 715-843-1454. The Call Center has been experiencing high call volumes, so community members are encouraged to use MyAspirus for convenience.