Chronic COVID (long-term) is when patients experience persistent symptoms that go beyond the normal timeframe.
The researchers pointed out that long COVID, which is a chronic illness in which patients are infected with the virus for a prolonged period of time, can be a serious condition. However, there are no evidence-based treatments available to treat it.
Melissa Pinto, co-author and associate professor at University of California, Irvine Sue School of Nursing.
The report describes the first case of a White woman in her 40s with a past medical history of Raynaud’s phenomenon (a condition where there is decreased blood flow to the fingers), polycystic Ovary Syndrome (hormonal disorder of the ovaries) and a milk allergy.
According to ScienceAlert, she is most likely the first person to have been infected by COVID-19 in America.
The woman, who was a healthcare worker, had complained of “profound fatigue and malaise” within 72 hours. This then led to a rash which spread over her back a week later, according to the report.
After 24 hours, her symptoms had improved to a degree. However, two months later, she started to experience brain fog and a relapse. This led to a thorough workup, which was not necessary.
Six months after her initial illness began, she accidentally ate cheese that she had an allergy to. She took 50mg of antihistamine diphenhydramine and noticed a significant improvement in her fatigue.
Three days later, her symptoms returned and she resumed taking diphenhydramine. She continued taking it daily for six months, until her doctor changed her to 25 mg of hydrozine. The instructions were to adjust it until the symptoms resolve, according to the case file.
She increased the dosage to 50 mg and reported 90% of her functional status back to baseline. This she has maintained for nine months without any relapses.
A similar case was described by a white middle-aged teacher of English who had a relatively unremarkable medical history, with the exception of seasonal allergies and asthma.
According to the report, she was likely infected by COVID-19 from her infant, who also displayed symptoms similar to the virus. However, her symptoms persisted for nine years, accompanied with intense fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
The authors note that she stopped taking her fexofenadine after 13 months of chronic illness. She decided to try 25 mg diphenhydramine by chance. Within a day, she was free from fatigue and brain fog.
According to the case report, she continued to take diphenhydramine daily and continued to experience clinical improvements in her brain fog, fatigue, abdominal pain, and loss of smell.
The report stated that she had been taking 25 mg diphenhydramine in the evening and 180 mg of fexofenadine morning for over 60 days. She experienced a 95% recovery to baseline functional status.
The report has one limitation: it needs more research to be generalized to a larger population, as it only covers two patients. ScienceAlert.
“Patients say they want to work and be able to do the basic things they used before long COVID. They are desperate for help to get back on their feet,” Pinto stated.
“The possibility of an easy-to access, over-the counter medication that could alleviate some of the [long COVID] symptoms should give hope to the 54 million people around the world who have been in distress for months and even years.”