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DES MOINES, IOWA — As COVID cases trend down in Iowa, much deal with its after-effects, and doctors say diagnosing long haulers can be difficult.

Des Moines native Christina Renteria-Grant says she was always a social butterfly, but after she contracted COVID twice, healing feeling like herself has been a challenge. She is a long hauler. Renteria- Grant says she experiences dizziness, neck and spine pain, brain fog, dry hair, lacks an appetite.

However, Renteria-Grant is not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long haulers often experience fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain, chest pain, cognitive issues, mental health, and more.

Renteria-Grant says she often feels alone and misunderstood. “The anxiety for me wanting to go out and be around our friends is a lot harder because I’m looking out. I don’t want them, you know, if I still have something in me. I don’t want to get them sick that’s my biggest fear.”

According to John Hopkins Medicine, it will take doctors a while before the health experts can understand possible health issues from COVID-19.

“There’s no lab test or image that we can do to diagnose long covid. It is typically a diagnosis of exclusions,” said MercyOne Medical Center Family Medicine Physician Dr. Ambrose Munroe.

Dr. Munroe recommends individuals discuss their symptoms with their doctors to provide a tailored plan for wellness.