GRIMES, Iowa– According to the CDC, most of the population who contract COVID-19 recover from the virus. However, some Iowans are seeing a lasting impact on their health.
“There a number of people still struggling with all kinds of symptoms weeks sometimes months after their initial COVID-19 diagnosis,” Infectious Disease Consultant at MercyOne Des Moines, Dr. Revi Vemuri said.
These symptoms include loss of smell and taste, dry cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and brain fog.
Medical professionals are noticing lingering COVID-19 symptoms are most common among young people.
Laci Rishel is a Panora High School athlete who contracted the virus in July. The high school junior said she does not have any known pre-existing conditions or prior health issues. However, after recovering from COVID-19 in early August, Laci had to take a break from sports after passing out due to shortness of breath.
“I’m not completely healthy yet. When I’m running I still have to use my inhaler probably three times every time I run,” Laci Rishel said.
According to a survey conducted by the CDC, one in five people between the ages of 18-34 who’ve been infected with the virus, have not returned to their usual state of health.
Grimes resident, Cole Ebel, said it’s been two months since he’s been treated for the coronavirus. Ebel said he’s still suffering from shortness of breath.
“I’m afraid to step on a treadmill or actually run a distance away where there might not be help in case I do collapse there,” Ebel said.
Ebel said his biggest fear is that the effects of the virus will be permanent.
“What’s going to happen when I’m 70? Maybe I was supposed to live until I’m 90, but my lungs are just shot at 70 because I had this. Maybe I get to 40 and I have the lungs of a 70 year old,” Ebel said. “It’s just the unknown that’s really what scares me.”
Dr. Ravi Vermuri said there currently isn’t medication available for outpatients suffering from symptoms after recovering. However, there could possibly be one in the works.
“There are a number of studies ongoing looking at various oral agents to use in people who aren’t sick enough to be in the hospital, but still are not well,” Dr. Vemuri said.