Researchers continue to learn more and more about the different ways the coronavirus moves through bodies and what infection with COVID-19 does to the body in the long- and short-term. On Wednesday, Gwyneth Paltrow revealed that, long after her experience with COVID-19 she was still experiencing fatigue, brain fog and inflammation — counting herself among the group of “COVID long haulers” who report lasting changes to their health after their initial recovery.
“I had COVID-19 early on, and it left me with some long-tail fatigue and brain fog,” Paltrow wrote in a post recommending some decidedly Goopy “detox” advice and product recommendations (like an at-home sauna sack, fancy hiking boots and an $8,600 gem necklace as well as a bunch of gut health supplements) for fellow long haulers. “In January. I had some tests done that showed really high levels of inflammation in my body. So I turned to one of the smartest experts I know, the functional practitioner Dr. Will Cole. After he saw all my labs, he explained that this was a case where the road to healing was going to be longer than usual.”
Wow. 1 in 3 hospitalized with #COVID19 gets readmitted to the hospital within a few months after discharge. ~48,000 UK patients.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 30, 2021
“Anecdotally, there’s no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a postviral syndrome that really, in many respects, can incapacitate them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery and clearing of the virus,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, previously said during a July COVID-19 webinar organized by the International AIDS Society. The symptoms reported range from continued coughing, difficulty sleeping, headaches, loss of taste and smell, shortness of breath and join pain as well as the fatigue and “brain fog” that Paltrow described.
Per UC Davis Health’s exploration of COVID long haulers: “Brain fog is among the most confusing symptoms for long haulers. Patients report being unusually forgetful, confused or unable to concentrate even enough to watch TV. This can happen to people who were in an intensive care unit for a while, but it’s relatively rare. However, it is happening to a variety of patients, including those who weren’t hospitalized.”
It’ll be years before healthcare providers have a full picture of what COVID-19 does to the body of those it infects — particularly the percentage of “long haulers” like Paltrow — but it’s important to understand as best that we can the risks coming from an infection and continue doing what we can (mask up, people!) to stop the spread.
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