Natalie Lambert, PhD, associate research professor at IU School of Medicine, is studying COVID-19 “Long Hauler” symptoms. People who consider themselves to be “Long Haulers” can suffer from symptoms for weeks or months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Lambert’s most recent research involves a study she conducted in partnership with Survivor Corps, a nonprofit group for people who have been affected by COVID-19 which encourages them to participate in medical and scientific research.
The founder of Survivor Corps, Diana Berrent, posted a poll on her group’s Facebook page asking Long Haulers to share what symptoms they have experienced.
“The poll was left open so that if someone was experiencing a symptom that wasn’t on the list yet, they could add it,” said Lambert. “Then that symptom could be chosen as well, so that was a unique feature of the study.”
Lambert analyzed the results of that poll, finding a total of 98 symptoms, including many that the CDC had not previously listed, such as difficulty focusing or concentrating, problems with sleeping or memory, vision issues, and hair loss.
“The most interesting part to me is the feeling of a lack of recognition for the Long Haulers,” said Lambert. “There are so many people suffering from the long-term symptoms, yet employers and even family members are skeptical that these people are still sick.”
Lambert says she was not surprised to see that people had been experiencing all these different symptoms and plans to expand her research in the future, to better understand COVID-19 patients.
“It’s important that there’s recognition for Long Haulers,” said Lambert. “Many people with COVID are experiencing long-term symptoms, 1 in 3 people, according to a recent study by the CDC. These symptoms can persist for at least 2-3 weeks, and in the group I’m studying, it could be many months. So COVID is not necessarily a short-term disease at all.”