NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s been eight months since the coronavirus pandemic changed life as we know it, and for many who have survived a bout with COVID-19, the battle is far from over.
They’re still suffering long-term effects that cover a wide range of symptoms.
For Pam Newman, being healthy means being happy, so when COVID-19 sidelined the fitness instructor in March, it was tough to accept and it was scary.
“Very sick, but not hospitalized,” she said.
As soon as she felt better, she went back to teaching classes virtually.
The 52-year-old Teaneck, New Jersey, mother was floored when an EKG revealed serious heart damage six months later during a routine physical.
“Completely shocked because I thought, ‘I’m healthy,'” Newman said. “Had I not gone to the doctor, the doctor said I could have actually had a heart attack … I had other EKGs, so that’s how they were able to see that COVID was what brought it about.”
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Newman is one of a growing number of so-called “long haulers,” patients dealing with COVID’s long-term impact months later.
“We’re seeing that people are having problems like stroke, migraines, clots in their vascular system, cardiovascular things … and then respiratory complications,” said Dr. Jake Deutsch, with Cure Urgent Care.
“Is there anyone who seems to be more susceptible?” CBS2’s Jessica Layton asked.
“There’s nothing we can identify, unfortunately,” Deutsch said.
The lingering side effects of so-called long COVID affects all ages.
Twelve-year-old Maggie Flannery, of Manhattan, has been dealing with extreme fatigue and shortness of breath since she caught the virus seven months ago, showing even kids, once thought to be immune, can suffer.
“The numbers are with you, but the risk isn’t zero,” Maggie’s mom, Amy Wilson, said. “COVID is not something you want to get.”
CBS2’s Ali Bauman, who had mild symptoms in the spring, can’t believe her sense of taste and smell haven’t returned to normal.
“Things have just smelled and tasted different than I remember beforehand. They just have weird smells and tastes to them that I don’t know how to change or how to get rid of,” Bauman said.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three hospitalized with COVID will face long-term effects, but even people who didn’t feel that sick can still face issues months later.
Newman believes her healthy lifestyle was a blessing in fighting COVID and shares her warning.
“It’s not the flu. It’s not the cold,” she said. “The doctors don’t even know the impact yet.”
The COVID survivor is pleading, don’t underestimate this unpredictable virus.
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