CDC says 1 in 5 adults who get COVID-19 struggle with long-haul symptoms

NOW: CDC says 1 in 5 adults who get COVID-19 struggle with long-haul symptoms

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new study from the CDC shows 20% of American adults who had COVID-19 are struggling with long-haul symptoms.

"It's a little bit of a difficult disease to diagnose," Dr. Minhaj Husain said.

Dr. Minhaj Husain is an infectious disease physician at Advocate Aurora Healthcare in Milwaukee. He sees patients who are struggling with long COVID, a condition that's still a mystery to doctors.

"It's not fully understood yet, but I know many people are now coming to terms with the ramifications two years into this pandemic," Dr. Husain said.

According to the CDC, one in five American adults who had COVID-19 are suffering from long-haul symptoms and never fully recover from the virus more than three months after being infected. It's extremely difficult to diagnose.

"It could maybe be even one in four or one in three. So it is a problem that many patients are dealing with and I wish we had more that we can offer them in this point in time," Dr. Husain said.

Dr. Husain calls it unexplainable.

"They have some fatigue. They may not be able to do things they were doing before. They may still feel short of breath doing things that were never an issue for them," he said.

What's more concerning -- the virus is mutating and becoming easier to catch more than once, especially with the new BA.5 variant. Dr. Husain said each time you catch the virus, your chances of long-term COVID go up.

"With each time you get it, it's that much more virus your body is exposed to. That much more immune dysregulation your body could be going through. Micro clots, viral load, effect on your heart, your lungs," Dr. Husain said.

The CDC says young adults and women are more likely to suffer from long-hauler symptoms.

Doctors recommend getting vaccinated and boosted. It helps decrease your chances of becoming a long-hauler if you do contract the virus.

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