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CT woman describes having 'terrifying' Covid-19 symptoms for almost four months

11 July 2020 11:00 AM
Tags:
Covid-19 symptoms
Covid-19 long haulers
prolonged symptoms
Louise Chiat
Covid-19 effects
Dr Charl van Loggerenberg

Cape Town tennis coach Louise Chiat says she and thousands of others have had recurring and debilitating coronavirus symptoms for months.

An increasing number of Covid-19 sufferers are reporting symptoms that last for weeks - and even months - after their diagnosis.

These people are being referred to as "long-haulers" and their symptoms don't seem to go away after the 14-day period.

Weeks after their first symptoms, they’re still reporting shortness of breath, painful joints, delipidating fatigue, headaches, intermittent fevers, and chest pain.

Cape Town resident Louise Chiat says she's been on a rollercoaster of ill health, extreme emotions, and utter exhaustion over the past 15 weeks.

Chiat, a fit and healthy tennis coach, first presented with symptoms back in March.

Initially, she thought she had developed a sinus infection on the 23rd of March. A week later, she collapsed and called an ambulance.

15 weeks on and she can't do much more than walk to her front gate.

At the time, Chiat says her GP prescribed two rounds of antibiotics to treat what she thought was bacterial pneumonia.

The medication did not help. She then decided to test for Covid-19, but the results came back negative.

Chiat believes that this is because she tested 21 days after the initial symptoms appeared. However, she's convinced that she had the virus.

The coach says she has consulted with an infectious disease expert who conducted more than 30 blood tests, numerous chest X-rays and scans to eliminate any other possible illnesses.

Chiat joined an online support group after reading about UK epidemiologist, Professor Paul Garner, and how he suffered agonisingly prolonged effects for more than seven weeks.

The members of the Covid-19 long-haulers support group compare symptoms and comfort each other as they report similar health problems, she explains.

When Chiat joined the community, she says there were roughly 2,000 members. There are now more than 11,000 members today, including dozens of South Africans.

On the 31st of March, I was watching TV and I started getting a headache. I got up and I actually collapsed with terrible chills.

Louise Chiat

At the time, I imagined that I had had a fever and that the chills were trying to break that fever. I also had incredible chest pain.

Louise Chiat

By the time I went for a drive-thru Covid test, it was 21 days after the initial symptoms. That came back negative.

Louise Chiat

I had so many symptoms by then... I had shortness of breath, no taste and smell, I almost felt like I was passing out horizontally when I laid down. It was an intense dizziness.

Louise Chiat

It was an absolutely terrifying time. I had over 30 symptoms and I still have some today.

Louise Chiat

This mysterious post-viral illness is still poorly understood by scientists, but it's increasingly reported by patients globally.

In a widely-circulated Twitter thread posted earlier this month, US-based Dani Oliver detailed the physical and mental pain she has undergone since she contracted the coronavirus in March.

Meanwhile, medical expert Dr. Charl van Loggerenberg says there's an increasing number of patients reporting prolonged viral symptoms across the world.

However, the emergency medicine specialist says these symptoms cannot be definitively linked to the coronavirus at this stage.

There's definitely an emerging body of evidence that suggests that there is a chronic, post-viral picture. Can we attach it to Covid? Probably not yet.

Dr Charl van Loggerenberg, Regional medical director - International SOS

Around the world, a number of primary care clinicians are receiving patients that are describing symptoms that are logically being connected to the recent viral infection.

Dr Charl van Loggerenberg, Regional medical director - International SOS

Currently, the medicine is not putting its finger on a specific syndrome or a phenomenon that's definitively linked to the viral infection, however, we can draw some logical parallels.

Dr Charl van Loggerenberg, Regional medical director - International SOS

Listen to the discussion on Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King:


11 July 2020 11:00 AM
Tags:
Covid-19 symptoms
Covid-19 long haulers
prolonged symptoms
Louise Chiat
Covid-19 effects
Dr Charl van Loggerenberg

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