The different numbers show how new the virus is and how little the medical community knows about the long-term effects of the virus

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Charles Mudge is thin and he’s getting thinner. Sometimes he looks at the waistband of his blue jeans in the middle of a casual conversation and pulls another loop on his belt.

He’s running out of ribbons and it’s COVID-19 to blame.

Mudge is a long-distance COVID driver, which means that some of the symptoms of the disease caused by the coronavirus infection that brought the world to a halt have lingered long after the most severe symptoms went away.

In March 2020, Mudge said he felt like he had the flu. He also lost his sense of taste and smell, and with it his appetite. Now, in March 2021, he has had no pain, chills, fever, or difficulty breathing in months, but he has also not had a decent meal.

“I’ve never really been hungry, but I know I had to eat. I tried to force myself but couldn’t get it off. It just wouldn’t go past my throat, ”Mudge said. “It almost felt like my throat just wouldn’t swallow food and my stomach wouldn’t get it.”

Months went by and Mudge said he had lost 30 pounds and dropped from 160 pounds to 130 pounds while eating mostly cottage cheese and a hamburger, if he could even keep the hamburger down.

“Having no energy. Just being worn out all the time. No energy. No real sense of need to do anything other than knowing you need to eat. You just can’t do that, ”said Mudge.

According to Dr. Bronwyn Carlblom of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, COVID patients who have had symptoms for more than a month meet the definition of a long-distance driver. She cited a study from the UK that found that 10% of COVID patients had persistent symptoms. She also cited another study from Italy that looked at patients suffering from severe COVID and in need of hospitalization. This study found that “approximately 87% of patients still have symptoms after a month”.

The different numbers show how new the virus is and how little the medical community knows about it compared to other diseases that have been around the world for much longer.

“We’re only a year in. The grand scheme of virus life and viral mutations as they go through their own infectious process is very early in the way we collect scientific data,” said Dr. Carlblom. “In a decade, of course, we’ll know more about this disease – how to treat it, how it mutates all of these things – we’ll know more.”

ON review The journal Nature Medicine has elaborated on the widespread effects the virus can have on the body, and it is estimated that up to a third of COVID-19 patients can continue to have symptoms over the long term.

ON Report from NBC News found that “the most common symptoms of Covid-19 over a long period of time were fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, loss of sense of smell or taste, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Dr. Carlblom believes that regular visits and communication with primary care practitioners are vital for people with long-distance ailments.

“I think having a good relationship with your doctor is really important in this situation because you need to feel supported and you need that kind of support from the health system to make sure you are better,” said Dr. Carlblom.

Charles Mudge says he has experienced most of these symptoms and that he has an appointment with his doctor this week.

Mudge works as a caretaker and caretaker for a church in South Scottsdale and lives on church owned property behind the sanctuary. When he goes outside, he sees the church tower and with it a reminder of what brought him last year.

“I have faith. God is with me,” said Mudge.

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