Local woman shares distress of being a COVID ‘long hauler’

Coronavirus

HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – For some people who have contracted COVID-19, unexpected side effects continue to linger. Those patients are called “long haulers,” and Sue Fritz of Howland is one of them.

For Fritz, the problems started last November. It was around Thanksgiving when she contracted COVID-19. At first, she thought it was the flu.

“Monday, I was starting to feel better but had no taste, no smell,” Fritz said.

Her recovery was progressing, and she started getting her senses back. But in January, things took a turn for the worst.

“By early February, I would put something in my mouth and it was just instant, ‘get it out of my mouth. It’s horrible,'” she said.

Fritz said foods she loved to cook and eat suddenly smelled and tasted like they were rotten.

Since then, Fritz has turned to support groups on Facebook, looking for answers from other COVID long haulers. All this time, her own situation is getting worse, even affecting her at work.

“I can’t stand the smell of money,” she said.

Experts admit they haven’t been able to come up with a solution.

“This is real, and there is no magic pill or a new medicine or a new test treatment for it, so we continue to learn,” said Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer with Mercy Health Youngstown.

Meanwhile, Fritz’s problems with her senses have pretty much ruined her appetite, and she’s lost 20 pounds and continues to lose weight.

“I am hoping that maybe they are going to do a study, or it will [go away] as time passes. They are all saying it’s just time,” Fritz said.

For now, Fritz and her husband are experimenting with different foods, looking to find something that’s palatable enough to eat.

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