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Oklahomans experiencing long-term COVID-19 symptoms, months after testing positive

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As more and more Oklahomans are recovering from contracting COVID-19, many are speaking out about what they’re calling ‘long-hauler symptoms’ – meaning symptoms people are still experiencing months after recovering from the virus.

“Hot sauce tastes awful. It smells musky. Anything that smells off usually tastes off as well,” said Marissa Charness, who is still dealing with lingering Covid-19 symptoms.

Oklahomans are still experiencing difficult COVID-19 symptoms, even six months after testing positive.

“I didn’t have bad COVID. I just had a fever for a couple of days. But since then, I get tachycardia really easily when I go up the stairs,” said Lynsie Morris, who tested positive in December. “You can just feel the really fast heart rate. Then I take my pulse and it’s around 120 every time.”

Morris says she still doesn’t feel like herself.

“I still haven’t gotten my sense of taste and smell back and I’m just tired all of the time. I’m napping every day right now,” Morris said.

And she’s not the only one. Charness didn’t smell or taste anything until nearly 4 months after her positive test.

Many of her favorite foods are still out of the question.

“Right now I’d say I might be at like 50%, possibly on both taste and smell,” Charness said. “Chicken is really awful to me. I used to love chicken.”

OU Med’s Dr. Dale Bratzler says many people experience long term symptoms– such as tiredness, joint aches, fevers and shortness of breath.

“It’s unclear how common long-haul syndrome is after a person has Covid-19. It certainly seems to be no less than 10%,” Bratzler said. “It’s going to be common. Lots of primary care physicians are going to be seeing these patients.”

But for those with smell and taste issues– things may never be the same as before. The loss could be permanent.

“I don’t know of any confirmed treatment that has been shown to cure the syndrome. I know there are lots of things that are being tried by our ear, nose and throat colleagues,” Bratzler said.

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“I just wish that people were still taking it seriously,” Morris said. “You could still end up like me if you haven’t been vaccinated yet.”

Bratzler also says we’re starting to see long-haul symptoms reported by people who never even received a positive test– but it appears they may have contracted COVID-19 at some point.

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