PRINCETON, N.C. (WNCN) – Doctors estimate up to 30 percent of people diagnosed with COVID-19 will deal with lingering symptoms. For a Princeton woman, those symptoms have stretched on for nearly 10 months.
COVID-19 divided Sherry Flynn’s life into two parts: before and after.
“Pre-COVID, I was just go, go, go,” said Sherry Flynn.
That changed in December. After nearly two weeks in the hospital battling the virus, she was grateful to go home to her family, but some of her symptoms are still part of daily life.
“The achiness, like the joint and the muscle pain and headaches, that never went away. I still experience that now.” She added that it can be hard to think clearly, her hair falls out, and her heart often races.
Dr. John Baratta is the founder and co-director of the UNC COVID-19 Recovery Clinic, which has seen about 475 patients with lingering symptoms. He’s hopeful that vaccines may reduce cases of long COVID by limiting the severity of infections.
“It does seem that those who are more severely affected by the initial COVID episode have a higher risk of developing long COVID,” he explained.
Right now, the clinic is still seeing many patients, like Flynn, who got the virus before vaccines were widely available.
“We’re still working through patients that have developed COVID in 2020,” he said.
“I hate the virus because I feel like it did take away from maybe the person I used to be,” Flynn said.
She’s on medications and doing rehabilitation to help with her symptoms.
Nearly 10 months after first getting sick, she doesn’t know how long it will take before she feels like she did before she came down with COVID-19, but she’s grateful for the support of her family and her doctors and grateful she still has the chance to get better.
“I’m blessed to be alive,” she said. “I have many friends who passed away from COVID, so I am one of the lucky ones.”