Video COVID-19 Why it Matters: Part 18, What is long-hauler syndrome?

Photo of the Covid-19 virus enlarged under a microscope with text, "Covid-19 why it matters: What is long-hauler syndrome?"

This video series features UW-Green Bay’s Immunologist Brian Merkel on COVID-19 and Why it Matters. This series empowers viewers with knowledge to help them navigate through the pandemic. Merkel has a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. He is an associate professor in UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology & Biology programs and has an appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He will be responding to a number of questions related to COVID-19 and try to get behind the “why” it’s important to be educated in your decision-making as we navigate the pandemic together.

Video Transcript – COVID-19 Why it Matters: Part 18, What is long-hauler syndrome?

Hello, I am Brian Merkel Microbiology and Immunology at UW-Green Bay and we’re here to talk about why COVID-19 matters to you.

One of the things I think that makes this virus unsettling has to do with the so-called long-hauler syndrome. And what I think is disturbing about this reality is that there’s a significant proportion of people that do become exposed, develop these long-term lingering effects that can last up to months.

Now based on what we know, there are two populations of people that enter into this syndrome. There are two outcomes, one leads to permanent damage to the lungs the heart to the kidneys. And then there’s another proportion of that group—these long haulers—that recover after weeks to months of time. The best guesstimate right now, is that this is roughly 10 percent of all individuals, no matter how mild, even asymptomatic they were when they were infected initially. The concern that over time, weeks later after their exposure, they developed these other symptoms.

Once again, I think the lesson when we talk about COVID-19, is that this is a highly, highly unusual virus and we should all be concerned about it no matter how healthy we are, what our age is because it is able to do very unusual things for reasons that are not fully understood. And you want to put yourself in the best position to avoid infection, no matter what your station in life is, what your age is, your health status is, because the long hauler syndrome is not something obviously that anybody ever wants to confront.

COVID-19 Why it Matters Video Series:

Introduction with Brian Merkel

Part 1: What are viruses and where did this one come from

Part 2: Two main types of viruses

Part 3: Why is this virus serious?

Part 4: Why wash hands/wear mask?

Part 5: I’m young! Why should I care?

Part 6: Can pandemics be stopped before they start?

Part 7: Pandemic is not local, why wear a mask?

Part 8: Why does everyone need a flu shot this year?

Part 9: What is the science behind a vaccine?

Part 10: Where can I find accurate information?

Part 11: What type of mask should I wear?

Part 12: Why HUGE COVID-19 spikes in Wisconsin?

Part 13: Fall break, protect yourself & others

Part 14: Why is COVID-19 Testing so Important?

Part 15: What are COVID-19 Antibodies?

Part 16: Will the vaccine protect against new COVID-19 variants?

Part 17: Vaccine myths vs reality

Part 18: What is long-hauler syndrome?

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