WACO, TX — COVID-19 cases are rising throughout the country as well as the Lone-Star state, which has medical professionals urging more of the community to get vaccinated.
But the vaccine is also believed to help avoid another aspect of the virus, Long COVID-19.
“As a medical community, we are all a little bit discouraged,” Matt Patillo, and MD with Ascension Medical, said after seeing the steady rise of COVID cases throughout the state.
As healthcare experts grow concerned with increasing numbers they also warn Long COVID-19 isn't something to ignore.
“Typically, if you are healthy before you get Long COVID-19, that is not any assurance that you’re not going to get a long-term symptom afterward,” Dr. Greg Newman, Medical Director at Hillcrest Urgent Care, said.
Some of these Long COVID-19 symptoms include some minor side effects like loss of taste or smell. But, some are more serious, including respiratory problems, lack of stamina and even brain fog, which seem to last months after a patient recovers from the virus.
“Some of these patients do have some of these long-haul symptoms that are distressing to them and they affect their everyday lives. They have to go to adjust and sometimes get extra care long-term because of the COVID infection they had months ago,” Newman said.
Throughout Waco, Newman said they have seen an increase in patients coming in with Long COVID-19, and now, some doctors are only treating those with chronic, Long COVID-19 symptoms at their practices.
“A lot of clinics are starting to open up across the country, specifically for this, for Long COVID-19 patients, for long haulers,” Patillo said.
Patillo believes that more clinics for Long COVID-19 patients could start popping up throughout Central Texas, but for now, doctors are puzzled about what's causing symptoms and what the future holds for patients.
“Are there any long-term effects of having COVID that we aren’t aware of? And we don’t have that answer yet,” Patillo said.
For now, Central Texas doctors are urging the public to avoid the virus at all costs and they say the Covid vaccine holds the key to keeping long-term symptoms to a minimum.
“Get vaccinated. That is your best defense from not only getting COVID but having serious problems from COVID like hospitalizations and perhaps death, but there is a good chance that it can reduce the chance of you getting those long-haul symptoms,” Newman said.