BLUE BELL, Pa. (CBS) — As the pandemic continues, a growing number of people with COVID-19 have lingering symptoms. They’re called long-haulers. Eyewitness News has the story of one Montgomery County mom who’s still struggling a year after being infected.
There are some early indications that the COVID-19 vaccine might help patients with ongoing symptoms, but that’s being studied. For now, doctors say COVID long-haulers can suffer from a variety of symptoms, everything from organ damage to hair loss.READ MORE: Man Dies After Being Shot Four Times In West Oak Lane, Philadelphia Police Say
“It was like such a nightmare,” Lauren Thomas-Mandel said.
It’s been a year since COVID-19 took over Thomas-Mandel’s family in Blue Bell.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Thomas-Mandel and her family came down with COVID-19. It started with her husband, who ended up being hospitalized, and then she started feeling symptoms.
“Had the headaches, had the fever, the next day lost the smell, loss of taste, had the body aches,” she said.
Then her four children between the ages of 6 to 18 started getting sick.
“Thank God I didn’t have that 101, 102 fever like everyone else,” Thomas-Mandel said.
Now a year later, one son still can’t taste or smell, and Thomas-Mandel has a variety of lingering symptoms.READ MORE: Fall Full-Capacity Concerts, Xfinity Live! Preparing To Reopen Has Philadelphia's Stadium District Buzzing With Energy
“I can’t even believe a year later, so now, I’m still struggling with breathing,” Thomas-Mandel said.
Thomas-Mandel is a long-hauler, a COVID-19 patient with symptoms that don’t go away.
“I wake up with headaches,” she said.
Research shows 10% to 30% of COVID-19 patients have long-term symptoms that can include
fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, and depression.
“We just don’t know how long those symptoms may go on,” Dr. Mark Rupp said. “And we may find some people that really have permanent disability because of this illness.”
It’s unclear why some people have long-lasting COVID symptoms. Most recover completely.
Thomas-Mandel is using an inhaler and is determined to get better.
“There’s no way I’m going to live like this for the rest of my life,” she said. “I have too much life to live. Sometimes I think I’m going to wake up and it’s all a bad dream and you know, it’ll be back to the way things were prior.”MORE NEWS: Tolls Increasing Sunday On 8 Delaware River Crossings Connecting Pennsylvania, New Jersey
The most recent study on long COVID found that 85% of those patients had four or more neurological symptoms.