DENVER (CBS4) – The vaccines being distributed in Colorado and around the country may provide relief for COVID “long haulers,” COVID-19 survivors who get the disease and then have ongoing symptoms that can last months. That’s according to CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida, who has been looking into the abnormal medical cases.
“You could have mild disease, you could have severe disease, you could have no symptoms, then all of the sudden you develop ongoing headaches, ongoing fatigue, ongoing shortness of breath, aching muscles,” explained Hnida in his weekly question and answer session on CBSN Denver.
He said those long haulers experience a gamut of symptoms and often their doctors don’t have a clear idea about why patients are feeling that way or how to help them.
“We think what’s going on is that in a lot of these cases there are people who carry little viral particle remnants in their blood. There are also theories that have to do with a hyper-immune response,” Hnida said. “Vaccination does something to the body and winds up decreasing that hyperactive immune system or immune response.”
He did caution no formal studies have been done, but as more people are vaccinated doctors are hearing perhaps up to half of the people who have long haul syndrome had improvement of their symptoms after receiving the vaccination.
“So there is something to it and it’s a really hopeful development,” he said, “not just for the people who are looking for protection from COVID but also just a reduction in the long term effects.”
CBS4 has interviewed to several long haulers in recent months, including a student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and a participant in an online boot camp that was set up to help long haulers by teaching them to manage their symptoms through breathing exercises, hydration and periods of rest.
“Fatigue was one of the main things, and I also had heart palpitations, the chest tightness stayed continuous. Some gastrointestinal discomfort, really inflamed eczema, and just some other random symptoms,” said Harper Powell, the boot camp participant.