“Patients like myself that are called long-haulers, we want to get better,” says Carlos Olvera.
For COVID long-haulers, the list of symptoms and the unknown of when they will end is overwhelming.
"The fatigue has been huge to where I would sleep up to 15 hours a day," Lydia Pastore said.
"The mental is actually a little worse than the physical," Calvin Mahoney said.
A new study shows COVID-19 long-haulers could experience neurological symptoms that last at least six weeks.
It looked at 100 non-hospitalized patients with persistent symptoms across 21 states. Eighty-five percent of patients reported having four or more brain-related symptoms. Seventy percent of them were women.
"I found that even with, you know, simple things like having conversations with my kids, I'm forgetting words," Beth Moore said.
"I'm sorry. I find it very difficult to describe what it actually feels like. But it's, it's like — let's see. Well, here's an example. I have lost my train of thought," Tasha Crabtree said.
The most common: brain fog, headache, numbness or tingling, loss or altered taste, loss of smell, dizziness, pain, and blurred vision.
Dr. Igor Koralnik heads up the neuro-infectious disease program at Northwestern Medical. He says the data shows long-haul COVID-19 will hurt the workplace as well.
"We also asked patients if they missed work and saw about 40% of patients said that they missed more than 10 days of work," Koralnik said.
There may be some hope for long-haulers in the COVID vaccines.
"It never occurred to any of us that people would actually feel better," said Diana Berrent, founder of Survivor Corps.
In a survey of 650 Survivor Corps long-haulers, 40% said their long-COVID symptoms improved after getting the vaccine.
More research needs to be done, but some experts think it’s because long-haulers may have an immune response that COVID puts out of whack, and the shots reset their immune system to respond more normally.
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