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'Six Months Is A Long Time To Be Suffering': For Some, There's Little Relief For A COVID Long Hauler

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Some people who've had COVID are searching for answers as to why they still have lingering symptoms months later.

CBS 2's Meredith Barack spoke to one woman who has been sick for more than 100 days, and wants to know what doctors have learned from studying other long haulers.

"I began having symptoms (in) November, like 27th. But I was finally diagnosed on December 7th," said Maurine Cody.

Now, more than 100 days later, Cody said she is still dealing with symptoms despite what she considers a mild case of COVID-19.

"Both my arms and both my legs. They hurt really bad, it's joint pain. Getting out of bed in the morning is a struggle," Cody said.

She also said she experiences a burning sensation throughout her body, chest pain, brain fog and fatigue among other ailments. The 40-year-old is frustrated, having no prior health issues before testing positive for COVID-19.

"I'm just trying to find any type of answer," Cody said. "Whether it's going to linger on, or if there's like a light at the end of the tunnel."

Doctor Marc Sala, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Northwestern Medicine, said slowly but surely, doctors are starting to see patterns when it comes to long haulers.

"We've seen people with various symptoms coming to us and we know what to expect now," Sala said. "So in terms of the chronic cough, the chest discomfort for some patients, breathlessness, neurological symptoms from the standpoint of brain fog and memory difficulties."

While the symptoms are similar for most long haulers, there doesn't seem to be consistency in who it's affecting. Thankfully, Dr. Sala said they are seeing patients get better.

"I think for everyone the trajectory is very different and that is what makes it frustrating in terms of we can't tell people what to expect," Sala said. "So that's part of the uncertainty about who's going to be afflicted for longer, but certainly we've had cases of people getting better and closer to their baseline for sure."

Which gives not only doctors, but Maurine hope.

"Six months is a long time to be suffering," Cody said. "I just want to be back to my healthy, normal self."

Dr. Sala said they are seeing some long haulers improve with the use of steroids, and there are other treatments currently being studied.


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