COVID

Brigham and Women’s Hospital program seeks to help those with long COVID and study its causes

“It’s another health crisis, it’s another pandemic, and it threatens the health of a generation.”

Some of those who survive a bout with COVID-19 have found themselves living with long-term health problems. Those include persistent coughs, shortness of breath, fatigue, “brain fog,” and more.

A local hospital created a new program to help those people heal.

The COVID Recovery Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which opened last May, brings together specialists in a variety of health care fields to provide targeted care to those who suffer from lasting health problems related to coronavirus, sometimes referred to as “long COVID.”

Up to 30% of COVID-19 patients have at least one symptom that persists for three to six months or more, according to WBZ.

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The center provides a single location to treat those with post-COVID symptoms. It also provides a place for research, allowing doctors to study the physical and psychological impacts of the virus.

“There’s a lot we don’t know about this disease,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gay, the center’s director, in a statement.

“Being able to see patients in a setting where other clinicians and providers are thinking about a similar set of issues can allow us to identify patterns and understand needs,” she added. “And from a research perspective, that offers the ability to develop a cohort you can follow and try to answer some of these questions.”

Dr. Mallika Marshall recently visited the center and met with one of its patients.

After a year, Phil Baczewski told WBZ that he still suffers from nerve pain, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, and brain fog.

And Baczewski is far from the only one, according to Dr. Bruce Levy, Chief of Pulmonary Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“It’s another health crisis, it’s another pandemic, and it threatens the health of a generation,” Levy said.

The center’s research is focused on discovering what leads to long COVID and how to treat it. Doctors say there’s not enough data yet to understand why these symptoms linger, according to the MetroWest Daily News.

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The federal government seems willing to help. Last December, Congress authorized more than $1 billion over the next four years for the National Institutes of Health to fund research and studies concerning long COVID.

Many in the medical community say that the best way to avoid long COVID is to get vaccinated, according to the MetroWest Daily News.

Doctors say the vaccines are proven to greatly lower the risk of infection, severe disease, and hospitalization. If those factors aren’t present, then the risk of experiencing lasting health issues from the virus lessens, experts told the paper.

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