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Support to Help You Manage Long-Haul Symptoms of COVID-19

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

Sept. 22, 2021

Sharon Krispinsky, RN, Lee Health’s chronic health program coordinator, recently drafted and shared a Healthy News Blog about managing the long-haul symptoms of COVID-19. In the blog post, Ms. Krispinsky noted that approximately 27-33% of patients with COVID-19 experience symptoms four weeks or more after recovering from the virus, and studies show that the severity of the COVID-19 does not predict who will develop long-haul symptoms.

Two of the most common symptoms are fatigue and shortness of breath, but patients also may experience:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Difficulty with sleep
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Pins and needles feeling
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rash
  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in smell or taste
  • Changes in period cycles

Ms. Krispinsky says the first thing you should do if you think you are experiencing long-haul symptoms is to see your primary care provider for a thorough assessment and treatment recommendations.

“When diagnosed with long-haul symptoms, you will likely be overwhelmed with information and possible treatments,” she says. “It’s important to realize that you can learn the knowledge and skills to assist in managing your symptoms. Lee Health Solutions can help by leading you through the Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Program, which is a complimentary community program that can help you take control of your symptoms and become healthier.”

The self-management education program meets virtually once a week for six weeks and teaches you a variety of tools, including:

  • Breathing techniques
  • How to get a good night’s sleep
  • Healthy eating
  • The importance of physical activity
  • Pain management
  • Dealing with difficult emotions
  • Mindfulness

Through the program, you will be able to develop an action plan, which allows you to identify a short-term goal that you can easily reach during the coming week. “When you tackle and enhance one aspect of life and your health, you can easily tackle and enhance a second one,” Ms. Krispinsky says.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Program was originally developed at Stanford University and is taught worldwide. If you are a COVID long-hauler and ready to get empowered and face your condition head-on, call Lee Health Solutions at 239-424-3121 to join an upcoming workshop.

Sources:

“Studies show long-haul COVID-19 afflicts 1 in 4 COVID-19 patients, regardless of severity.” UC Davis Health/Newsroom 30 March 2021.

“Post-COVID Conditions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 12 July 2021