New research shows COVID-19 “Long Haulers” can experience symptoms for months after first getting sick

Natalie Lambert, PhD, associate research professor at IU School of Medicine, is studying COVID-19 “Long Hauler” symptoms. People who think they are “Long Haulers” can suffer from symptoms for weeks or months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Lambert’s most recent research involves a study she conducted in partnership with Survivor Corps, a nonprofit group for people who have been affected by COVID-19 which encourages them to participate in medical and scientific research.

The founder of Survivor Corps, Diana Berrent, posted a poll on her group’s Facebook page asking Long Haulers to share what symptoms they have experienced.

“The poll was left open so that if someone was experiencing a symptom that wasn’t on the list yet, they could add it,” said Lambert. “Then that symptom could be chosen as well, so that was a unique feature of the study.”

Lambert looked at the results of that poll and found a total of 98 symptoms, including many that the CDC had not listed before, such as difficulty focusing or concentrating, problems with sleeping or memory, vision issues and hair loss.

“The most interesting part to me is the feeling of a lack of recognition for the Long Haulers,” said Lambert. “There are so many people suffering from the long-term symptoms, yet employers and even family members are skeptical that these people are still sick.”

Visit the Indiana University Precision Health Initiative’s website for more on this research. Dr. Lambert expects to begin new research studies soon, and additional studies on the long-term effects of COVID-19 are available in the All IN for Health research directory.