EL PASO, Texas-- More than 16,000 El Paso residents have now recovered after being infected with Covid-19. While that statistic bodes well for the city as a whole, it does not paint a clear picture of what happens once your body has been infected with the coronavirus.
A recovered patient may no longer be contagious for the virus and they'll even test negative, but many still feel like they have it. Patients are reporting still feeling symptoms months after being cleared from this diseases.
“I haven’t had the same quality of life since before getting Covid, the extreme fatigue has dampened my everyday life,” Lyndzee Herrera, a recovered patient, said.
Herrera is in her early 20's and always kept an active health lifestyle before getting Covid-19 in early June. Three months after contracting Covid-19, she is still dealing with a loss of taste, smell, and extreme fatigue.
“Going to the store to get groceries after about 20 minutes of pushing the cart around I felt like I was going to pass out, like if my legs had weights on them, like there was lead. I felt sluggish,” Herrera said.
She is not alone, many other patients who beat Covid-19 are still dealing with the adverse effects of the disease. Others are reporting changes in their heart rhythm as well as other crucial organs.
“It can affect many organs. Inflammation can affect your brain and that can give you a decrease of your mental sharpness that you usually have. It can cause inflammation of your heart, of your lungs. That’s why after recovering from any infection, the symptoms don’t go away immediately," Dr. Armando Meza, the Chief of Infectious Diseases for Texas Teach Health Sciences University, said.
A major reason why patients are still battling symptoms is because this virus affects patients in two stages. The first is the immediate attack on the immune system and organs, the second is what is being referred to as the inflammation stage.
“The immune system is not in alignment with just the initial attack on the body, but it remains activated and there will be more than one individual that will remain in this activation status for months,” Dr. Meza said.
Dr. Meza recommends patients who have been cleared of the disease to contact their medical provider to examine whether a therapy plan may be needed for recovery.
“Sometimes those organs don’t recover their normal functions for several weeks or several months. That’s why those symptoms may make it feel like you’ve never recovered. Even though the virus is all gone, the damages from this virus can be long lasting," Dr. Meza said.