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Experts discuss what we know about COVID 'long-haulers'

Experts with the Infectious Diseases Society of America say the most common symptoms of post-COVID syndrome are fatigue and shortness of breath.

TAMPA, Fla. — There is still a lot of unknowns about post-COVID syndrome, or what has become known as "long haulers." And experts say it could be some time before we really understand what's happening. 

On Friday, two experts with the Infectious Diseases Society of America discussed what we do know at this point. IDSA is a community of more than 12,000 physicians, scientists and public health experts who specialize in infectious diseases. 

They say the post-COVID symptoms last about 4 weeks after the COVID infection has resolved, but are seeing some patients have symptoms up to 6 months or even a year later. 

The most common: fatigue, which could be related to heart issues, but its cause still unclear and shortness of breath. Other typical symptoms could include chest pain, brain fog, headaches, dizziness.

The experts say they need more research to understand what is causing these "long-haul" COVID symptoms. 

"There's a question of whether this is unique to COVID itself and the COVID virus is triggering these symptoms or if this could be part of a post-viral syndrome," Dr. Allison Navis said. "So we do see a lot of similar symptoms after other viral infections and those post-viral syndromes can sometimes last up to a year or a little longer and then they resolve on their own."

Doctors also note that some long haulers, who have been in the hospital for long periods of time, are also suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression. 

The group of experts hopes that there will be more studies that will pull data together to understand this "long-haul" COVID better within the next six months.

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