The lead researcher is someone I searched high and low for back in 2020 when no one had answers about the battle to recover from COVID-19 and now after studying the cases of 100 patients the answer to recovery may lead many to a shot in the arm.
We did our first story on long-haulers syndrome at the end of 2020. People like LaTanya Carter who contracted Covid in March were suffering with unthinkable pain.
I scoured the internet for answers and found Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn of the Mayo Clinic. He was one of the very first researchers to take an in-depth look at long hauler's syndrome.
The symptoms people are left to deal with after recovering from COVID -19. As the Medical Director of the COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program, he began his study in July of last year and the results are just being released today.
“Overall, what our study is showing is that long haul COVID affects way more people than we originally thought, and more people are at risk,” said Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn from the Mayo clinic.
Initially, doctors thought severely affected patients who were hospitalized and put on ventilators would get long haulers. But 75% of their patients at the Mayo Clinic were not hospitalized.
“Most of them were experiencing just mild symptoms and they went on to develop long haul COVID symptoms,” said Dr. Vanichkachorn.
Also, 68% were female and they are trying to determine if women are affected worse than men. The most common symptom is fatigue, next shortness of breath, followed by headaches. Problems with thinking memory and multi-tasking better known as brain fog.
“We have also found that, unfortunately, brain fog can often be the most distressing for patients especially when it comes to work,” added Dr. Vanichkachorn.
Finally... and most surprisingly patients have gotten better after getting the COVID vaccine.
“Some have reported getting better fairly quickly sometimes within a few hours or within a week or two,” said Dr. Vanichkachorn.
At first, they thought this might be random, but it happened so frequently they began studying it.
“The vaccine when it interacts with the immune system it either boosts the immune system or restarts it and that's how patients are able to recover,” said Dr. Vanichkachorn.
LaTanya has not gotten the COVID vaccine, but she is better her lungs are clear, her breathing is back to normal, but 14 months later she is still suffering with brain fog and fatigue.
Dr. Vanichkachorn says only a rare number of people have still been suffering from long haulers syndrome a year out, the majority are recovering in less than a year, but the key is seeking the right medical treatment early so you can recover properly.