‘You can feel fine one day and tank the next’: Long-term effects of COVID-19 unpredictable

Oct 7, 2020 | COVID-19

Melanie Valente-Leite

With over 33 million cases worldwide, people have begun to worry about the long-term effects of COVID-19.

“It’s unpredictable. You can feel fine one day and tank the next,” Sophie Lehman, a 23-year-old student in Toronto, said. “But it has damaged my lungs pretty severely.”

Patient Sophie Lehman at the hospital with an IV in her arm placed above her tattoo of the “Plague Doctor”. (Courtesy Sophie Lehman)

A doctor diagnosed Lehman with the coronavirus in March, but six months later, she continues to struggle to catch her breath doing simple tasks.

With a positive attitude, Lehman wants to continue to spread awareness of the extremity of COVID-19.

“This isn’t something I’d wish on anybody, and the sooner people realize the genuine severity of it, the better,” Lehman said.

A study done by the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection in August discovered that those who experienced severe COVID-19 symptoms might be at risk for respiratory diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome.

“I do worry for people who are experiencing long-term complications such as lung scarring, blood clots, myositis of the heart, etc,” Dr. Madeline Dodds, Emergency Medicine Physician in Manchester UK, said.

The Mayo Clinic website says some long-term effects include: damage to heart muscles, scarred tissue in the lungs, and may cause strokes or seizures, which affect the brain.

It advises those who are returning to work to take extra preventive actions such as maintaining distance from people, clean everything before handling, avoid sharing personal items, and work from home during the winter if possible.