Expert weighs in on long term side effects of Covid

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — “I look at the candy aisle and I’m like oh that looks so good, but I know I’m not going to like it so I don’t buy it,” Melissa Chandler, who got Covid, said.

That’s because certain foods now taste awful after her battle with Covid-19. She’s one of many dealing with the same issue.

Covid-19 cases range in severity, but doctors are starting to learn more about cases that have long-lasting side effects. Some “long-haulers” are battling symptoms more than a year after being diagnosed. A physician at Carle said right now the virus is still new, so they’re still learning about it. He says studies show long term side effects may not cause long term problems, but it’s still difficult for the people dealing with it.

“It is new. I think that’s one of the important things to note is there’s a lot of things to be learned about this,” Robert Healy, a Carle physician, said.

Covid-19 has been around for about 2 years and while we’re getting used to living with it, doctors are still learning why people have some symptoms, specifically, long term side effects.

“Just feeling kind of brain fog, or feeling tired, some people have chest pain or trouble breathing still, so those are some of the things we’ve seen,” Dr. Healy said.

Besides those symptoms, a lot of people experience long-term loss of smell and taste.

“It sounds like its probably not that big of a deal, but it really is, if you can’t smell or if you have an awkward smell, if you can’t taste, it really effects your life and some people get it just with the acute illness and it goes away, some people get it longer term,” Dr. Healy said.

Melissa Chandler got Covid in October of 2020. She says the virus changed her senses making her favorite foods taste awful.

“Chicken smelled like, and I’m going to get a little detailed, it smelled like dog poop and baby vomit mixed together,” Chandler said. “It was horrible and it tasted so dry. It could be the juiciest piece of chicken I’ve ever seen, but it tasted just dry.”

Over a year later, she still has problems eating certain foods and sometimes can’t finish her plate.

“Chocolate it was just bitter and I just can’t get that taste out of my mouth even if I brush,” Chandler said.

She got covid before vaccinations and worked at a daycare, but experts are saying your best bet on avoiding long term side effects is prevention. That means getting vaccinated and even if you already had Covid. Doctors say some studies found the vaccine helped get rid of those lingering side effects.

“Preventing even the mild symptoms of the regular Covid can help prevent this long hauler syndrome,” Dr. Healy said.

He says if you are experiencing long term side effects of Covid, to speak to your doctor about this. He says it could be something else and its best to get checked out to be on the safe side.

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