Hartford HealthCare’s COVID Recovery Center, which is the state’s first center focused on health and healing after recovering from COVID-19, continues to see and treat patients who are experiencing persistent health issues. The comprehensive approach includes doctors from all types of specialties – ranging from pulmonary to mental health.
The whole idea is to determine the persistent symptoms someone is having after getting COVID, and for the most part we are seeing cough and shortness of breath.
I’m seeing patients, of all ages, complaining of issues that are impacting their daily life. Some of them are unable to return to work due to trouble breathing after walking only a short distance.
What I’m seeing is that it’s not just the people who were hospitalized with COVID who are at risk for lung damage. People who were not sick enough to get hospitalized are still having lingering pulmonary issues four to six months after their diagnosis.
While COVID-19 greatly affects the lungs of many patients, some of the other long-term symptoms include:
Weakness/numbness in arms and legs, or severe muscle pain
Abnormal heart rhythms, palpitations or arrhythmia
It’s important for people who have persistent issues as a result of COVID to see a specialist so that we can get them tested and get a bigger picture of the long-term effects caused by this virus.
If someone needs help after recovering from COVID-19, the first step is to call the COVID Recovery Center at 860.827.3200 to schedule an in-person or virtual visit. From there, the patient is referred to the appropriate specialist based on their symptoms.
The sooner we treat a condition, the better the outcome will be as opposed to waiting. Primary care physicians should also be referring their patients to the COVID Recovery Center if they notice persistent health issues with their patients post COVID.
The COVID Recovery Center is designed to put patients on the path to recovery by offering resources for outpatient care, which includes diagnostic and medical treatment, therapy and support groups.
When it comes to pulmonary issues due to COVID, patients are first screened with a chest X-ray. They then go through a walk test/oxygen evaluation and then a breathing test, known as a pulmonary function test. Based on the findings of these screenings and tests, a course of treatment will be determined for the patient. Some of the treatment includes an exercise program to help someone return to normal lung function. More serious issues may require inhaler treatments. If a person has significant damage to their lungs, they will most likely be referred to a pulmonary rehab program to overcome weakness or lung scaring as a result of COVID.
Right now we are really figuring out what type of lung injuries people are left with and once we know that, we can incorporate other types of treatments to reverse the effects of COVID. No one should suffer in silence. We are here to help.
Dr. Tejal Shah is a pulmonary critical care specialist at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. For more information about the COVID Recovery Center, call 860.827.3200 or visit https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/coronavirus/covid-recovery-center