Are lingering breathing issues since recovering from COVID-19 a cause for concern?


The effects on the lungs can be worse than other viruses because the coronavirus affects multiple organs

(WKBN) – People recovering from COVID-19 may have realized that their breathing is not yet back to normal. That’s because the coronavirus may impact breathing more than any other virus we’ve experienced before.

“The lungs is the favorite organs to be hit by the COVID,” said Dr. Manuel Bautista, a pulmonary physician at Trumbull Regional Medical Center.

But, Dr. Bautista says it is normal.

“Usually, the flu takes days to weeks to recover back to normal breathing wise but with the COVID, we see weeks to months,” Dr. Bautista said.

And while people with pre-existing conditions may experience it the worst…

“If you come in with health diseases such as diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular disease or any lung problems such as asthma, those effects are just more pronounced,” said Dr. Timothy Barreiro, director of the Pulmonary Health and Research Lab at Mercy Health.

The recovery process for the lungs in anyone recovering from COVID-19 is generally longer, no matter who you are.

“What we see in the office after the COVID infection and people that recover from it, is that it may take three to six months for them to recover, full pulmonary recovery,” Dr. Barreiro said.

Dr. Barreiro says the effects on the lungs can be worse than other viruses because the coronavirus affects multiple organs.

“It affects the heart, the muscles, and the pulmonary vasculature is why people are having slow recovery,” Dr. Barreiro said.

And even the most athletic people, like runners, may find it hard to jump right back into their normal routine.

“Because this is a new disease, now one year out, we see… now who are the patients that will develop permanent damage. This data is still out. We don’t know what percentage of them will develop permanent damage among the survivors,” Dr. Bautista said.

Both doctors say most people won’t experience long-term or permanent lung damage or breathing problems.

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