The New York City Health Department has issued a sweeping guide warning doctors that many patients who were infected with the coronavirus are still suffering from serious health problems months after the virus passed.
The patients are called COVID-19 “long-haulers” nagged by lingering breathing and other respiratory problems, heart-related ailments, blood clots, sleep disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome, mental disorientation and “brain fog”, joint and muscle pain as well as depression and PTSD.
“A substantial subset of patients who recover from mild, moderate or severe COVID-19 go on to develop persistent symptoms. These `long-haulers’ have passed the acute stage of infection but continue to suffer from a variety of post-infection sequelae,” the Health Department said in its Dec. 3 newsletter delivered to health care providers.
“Symptoms may be subjective, anatomically diverse, unpredictable or difficult to diagnose, but should be taken seriously and treated appropriately,” the department said.
“Clinicians and patients should be aware that it may take weeks or even months to return to one’s pre-infection baseline, even after experiencing mild COVID-19.”
Older patients and those with multiple chronic medical conditions are more likely to have post-COVID illnesses, but younger adults “also report not having returned to their usual state of health,” the department said.
The Post previously profiled young adults suffering from such post-COVID-19 ailments, including being winded and feeling weak.
City health officials advised doctors and other medics to screen patients to determine whether they are still sick from COVID-after effects or other ailments, such as the flu or asthma.
The guide recommended coordinating with specialists or clinics that have experience providing comprehensive post-COVID-19 care.
It also tells docs to inform COVID-19 patients that prolonged symptoms are common and that it may take weeks or months for lingering symptoms to clear.
“Let patients know that, unless they are immunocompromised, they are unlikely to be
contagious to others more than 10 days after symptom onset, even if their symptoms persist,” the department said.