Insights From a COVID-19 Long Hauler

Mady Hornig, MA, MD, shares her experiences of having lingering effects as part of a phenomenon where some people suffer from the virus over many months.

Some people who have COVID-19 have lingering symptoms and ongoing health issues several months after their initial bout with the virus. These subset of patients have been called "COVID-19 long-haulers."

These long-haulers may continue to have a loss of taste and smell, have a severe fatigue or neurological issues. While the symptoms and health issues differ, there is a sense these people do not feel back to their “normal selves.”

Mady Hornig’s experience with COVID-19 has been marked by unusual symptoms to start and lingering issues in the ensuing months.

Prior to COVID-19, Hornig, MA, MD, who is an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, kept a busy schedule. And as a physician-scientist, she has been involved in research looking at autism and other related neurodevelopmental conditions.

Her experience with COVID-19 began with “COVID toes,” with swelling and what looked like scratches on her feet. She did experience a fever for nearly two weeks and what she calls an unremarkable cough. In addition, she had potentially dangerous health issues like tachycardia.

Over the ensuing months, she has been affected by a lingering fatigue. Whereas, prior to having COVID-19, she had been putting in 14 hour work days; after contracting the virus she found herself extremely tired after 4 or 5 hours. She has since put herself on what she calls a “toddler schedule” where she performs a limited amount of activities and responsibilities during the day.

While she has had a myriad of symptoms, she remains concerned about her severe hypertension in the long-term. She also has underlying autoimmune neuropathy.

Hornig now has 8 doctors who have looked at her for various ailments and symptoms and says there is no conclusive explanation.

In the first segment of an interview with Contagion®, Hornig talks about her recovery and her ongoing medication regimen.