Doctors are still learning about the coronavirus as it continues to spread here in Arizona and across the country. Another disturbing trend is that Covid-19 side effects can linger long after a person has recovered from the virus.
Scarring of lungs, shortness of breath, lack of smell, and inflammation of the heart, are but some of the ailments covid-19 leaves in patients long after the acute illness has passed.
Dr. Shad Marvasti, with the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said those symptoms are not limited to those who are older, suffer underlying conditions or battle more severe cases.
"We've also seen these long-term Covid-symptoms with people who have been very mildly symptomatic and young and otherwise healthy", said Marvasti, "So we don't completely understand it."
In the big picture, Dr. Marvasti said this lack of understanding makes proactive treatment options difficult. However, he said there is a promising preemptive option: at the onset of Covid-19, use steroids to limit excessive inflammation, which the doctor said wreaks havoc on patients' organs. Unfortunately, many hospitals are not able to regularly to give patients that care.
"We just don't have the staff or the space", Marvasti said, "Then that's potentially going to increase the risk of more folks with long Covid and also poor outcomes."
The doctor said this virus's ability to directly cause these long-term effects is unprecedented and Arizonans need to understand just how dangerous the virus can be.:
"I hope people take things more seriously, because they realize that it's not as simple as just powering through a cold or a flu", said Marvasti.
according to a recent study from the campus of UC Davis, about 10 percent of coronavirus patients become long haulers, those who suffer long term effects from the virus.