CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – For some patients, recovering from COVID-19 can be a long and grueling process.
While there are some COVID cases that recover in two to six weeks after infection, there are also those who take much longer to recover – sometimes still showing symptoms like fatigue, brain fog and coughing even months after their initial diagnosis.
Dr. Mike Czarnecki, a Chattanooga-based pulmonary specialist, has recently opened up a clinic out of his office to treat and research what he has called “COVID long haulers”.
He says it’s been a difficult process, mainly due to the fact that the disease is still so new.
“Every seven days new information comes out – how do we treat them differently, maybe we – if they get worse do we give them more steroids, do we give them antibiotics, how do we track their imaging on their chests? CT scans, how do we track their breathing tests? Pulmonary function tests? So all those things, we start getting more information and we also want to contribute to the overall medical community, the scientists with the data that we’re generating with our contributions,” says Dr. Czarnecki.
Dr. Czarnecki says it’s not yet known why some patients become long haulers and others recover quickly, but he does know that it has to do with a prolonged period of immense inflammation.
“It’s a global inflammation throughout your body. And often times we need to do additional tests because you may go into some heart failure, because your heart is inflamed. Your brain is inflammed. And all these things we try to manage – your lungs remain inflamed. Your nasal passageways, the loss of taste and smell, seem to remain inflamed,” he says.
Due to high demand, the clinic is now seeing patients every Friday.