Local doctor explains long-term effects of COVID-19

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT
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(WYMT) - Dr. Fares Khater is the Chief of Infectious disease at Appalachian Regional Medical Center (ARH) and Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC).

“We treat a variety of conditions including bacterial infections like Pneumonia, Meningitis, Sepsis,” said Dr. Khater.

Infectious disease doctors treat viral infections like COVID-19. Dr. Khater said there are immediate complications of the virus.

“Shortness of breath, you cannot breathe anymore you get Pneumonia, you go to the hospital, you get supportive care, oxygen,” added Dr. Khater.

After 60 days of infection, only 12.6 percent of COVID-19 patients fully recovered. Dr. Khater said 87.4 percent of patients still deal with the long term effects of COVID-19.

“Most of these patients have what we call lung scaring, their lungs are scarred and they’re not able to do what they used to do before, they’re short of breath, their lungs are not functioning the same,” added Dr. Khater.

Some COVID-19 patients can experience heart complications.

“They don’t have to have chest pain or they don’t have to have a heart attack but the studies show that there are long term complications of the heart from chronic inflammation,” said Dr. Khater.

Patients can experience anxiety, depression, PTSD and chronic fatigue syndrome are also long-term effects of COVID-19.

“We know that the virus can go through the central nervous system. Ability to solve problems, they’re not as sharp in thinking as they used to be before the infection some of that means cognitive behavioral therapy,” added Dr. Khater.

COVID-19 patients can see a lung doctor or a behavioral therapist so they can try to improve those side effects.

“Hold in tight, stay the course, and hopefully, hopefully, the future research will show what we can do more to reverse these long term effects,” said Dr. Khater.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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