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Haughton woman speaks on long COVID symptoms: ‘Hopefully, it’s not a forever thing’

Coronavirus

HAUGHTON, La. (KTAL/KMSS) –  It’s one thing to have COVID-19 and recover from it, but it’s an entirely different ball game to recover from the virus and still deal with the symptoms for weeks or even months after.

It’s called “long COVID,” and a Haughton woman says she still doesn’t have her sense of smell back after contracting COVID-19 on Labor Day of last year.

“It was really sad to me,” Tiffany Shatto said. “It was like I couldn’t fully enjoy my life. I couldn’t enjoy the experiences that I was having because I couldn’t smell. I couldn’t associate smell with pleasant feelings or pleasant memories.”

Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Disease expert Dr. John Vanchiere directs the testing and vaccine programs at LSU Health Shreveport and says symptoms resolve over time for most people. But not everyone.

“Folks now who are a year out from their COVID infections of last summer and fall, some of them still haven’t recovered from their sense of smell.”

A mother of two children, Shatto said when she noticed her COVID-symptoms were still lingering, she felt depressed and isolated from the world and was put on antidepressants.

“Hopefully, it’s not a forever thing,” she said, adding that she is mentally preparing for the possibility it is after hearing from her doctor last week about the changes she’ll get these senses back.

“He was like this is probably something that you suffer with forever.”

As of now, Vanchiere said there aren’t any specific treatments for long COVID syndrome, but that could change as scientists learn more about it.

“As we study it more, and understand why it occurs, and how it occurs, we hope there will be treatments available.”

Shatto said she got vaccinated in May in hopes that her COVID-symptoms would go away. They didn’t.

She said not smelling can be scary and recalled an incident in which popcorn was burning in her microwave, but she couldn’t smell it. She wonders if she would smell it if her house caught on fire.

“Am I going to be able to protect my kids?”

Vanchiere says some COVID long-haulers have said they got better after they received the vaccine, but added that it’s still an area of uncertainty.

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