ASK THE EXPERT: Recovering from lasting COVID-19 symptoms

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C (WSPA)– Covid-19 can cause symptoms for people for weeks and even months after the virus is gone, according to the CDC.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7 News Taylor Murray spoke with a physical therapist, a registered nurse, and a patient recovering from covid about what can be done to tackle lasting side effects.

Bobby Nash, a patient at Bon Secours St. Francis remembers his experience with Covid-19 in December 2020.

“The ambulance came and once I got to Saint Francis, I didn’t leave until 14 to 15 days later.”

Bobby Nash, patient at Bon Secours St. Francis

Hospitalized in December 2020 with Covid-19, Bobby Nash had trouble catching his breath, months after being released.

“I was real short of breath. I mean it’s like, you know, I’d get in the shower and I couldn’t stay in there long. It was like wiping me out,” Nash said.

Despite overcoming the viral infection, several lingering effects persisted. This prevented Nash from returning to a job he loves, as a custodian for an upstate high school, sp he went to the doctor for help with recovery.

“I had to learn how to walk again. I couldn’t walk from here to there,” Nash said.

The Covid-19 rehab program at Bon Secours Saint Francis combines physical therapy and pulmonary rehab to address the long-term effects of Covid-19, including shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, joint pain, and chronic fatigue.

“People notice long-term effects early on and you can notice it years later.”

Margarert Bagwell, Physical Therapist Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Physical Therapist, Margaret Bagwell, helps patients restore strength and balance through stretching and work-outs.

“Physical therapy is going to work on your balance, your strength, your coordination, and the ability to do things you have to do throughout the day, like going upstairs and getting out of your chair. We work on leg exercises like lifting your leg lying down and doing little squats,” Bagwell said.

On the pulmonary rehab side, patients work to restore respiratory function. Nurse Robbie Keefer says this is done through tailored breathing exercises.

“They’ll do the bycicle and walking. Some of them can even be getting on the treadmill depending on orthopedic wise,” Keefer said.

Nash is still on the road to recovery but has made major improvements.

He finished the rehabilitation sessions at the beginning of August.

Now, he is back at work preparing the building for the first day of school.

“I actually thought that I wasn’t going to make it, but I just kept saying I can do this and I can do this.”

Bobby Nash, Patient at Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Long-term Covid-19 symptoms are not limited to physical effects. Some people experience lasting mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

If you or someone you know is still experiencing symptoms months after being diagnosed with COVID-19, contact your primary care provider to refer you to the Bon Secours St. Francis Covid-19 Rehab program.

For more information on Covid-19 Rehab, click here.

For information on a post-Covid support group, click here.

To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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