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Health Matters: Addressing and preventing long-haul COVID symptoms

UT Physicians stress that people continue wearing masks to avoid the virus and getting tested to get treatment as early as possible.

HOUSTON — At the COVID-19 Center of Excellence, doctors have been treating patients suffering from long-haul COVID, the long-term effects of the disease.

Dr. Luis Ostrosky with UT Physicians say most of them suffered from the initial variant of COVID, or delta.

But while the omicron variant appears to be milder, Dr. Ostrosky says long-term consequences are still possible.

“There are more than two outcomes to COVID. It’s not just you’re cured, or you die,” he said. "There is the third outcome of long COVID that can be very disabling.”

Long-term issues include pulmonary scarring, heart damage, blood clots and organ complications or failure.

Dr. Ostrosky says most patients still experience fatigue, muscle issues, brain fog and problems with their ability to taste or smell.

“You have people who have lost their ability to work, to socialize, they can’t get out of bed. It's life-altering."

It’s why he says testing is so important: not only as a way to track community spread, but for people to get the treatment they need as quickly as possible. There are different ways to treat the virus (antiviral prescriptions, monoclonal antibodies, etc.), but patients have to test positive first.

With the rapid spread of omicron and increased travelling, Dr. Ostrosky says people also need to start masking up again and practice safety measures to help end this pandemic for good.

“All we need is really about 3 weeks of really good behavior and help, and people getting vaccinated to get over this peak.”

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Editor's Note: The following video was uploaded in Oct 2020