ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For some survivors, the battle against COVID-19 will be measured in months and even years.
They’ve come to be known as “long haulers,” those who develop often severe, chronic symptoms that continue long after the initial infection.
The University of Michigan has created two new COVID-19 Long Haul Clinics, one for adults and one for children. They said that it’s critical to have a coordinated approach to care for these patients and search for better answers.
For one Metro Detroit family, it’s offering hope. Jordyn Stickel, 13, of Orion Township, was a happy, healthy kid when she caught a mild case of COVID last November.
Her family said it started with symptoms like a head cold, sore throat and then she got a really low fever. Then the symptoms developed into debilitating headaches, excessive tiredness, joint pain and brain fog. They said nothing seems to help.
Before COVID, Jordyn Stickel was a big kayaker and on the basketball team. Her family said she was in the robotics team at school, in honor classes and now she’s different.
Heather Stickel, Jordyn Stickel’s mother, said the symptoms left her unable to return to school or the activities she loves.
“She gets exhausted, like, extremely easily so she maybe will function for a couple of hours and do something like, read a book or sit outside by the fire or something and then she’ll sleep for a couple of days,” Heather Stickel said.
Doctors at Mott Children’s Hospital said that when children get COVID, for a majority of the time it’s very mild. But months later some still suffer from symptoms including breathing problems, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Dr. Carey Lumeng is one of the lead doctors at the Pediatric COVID-19 Long Haul Clinic.
“The effect of COVID on children has been substantial,” Lumeng said.
The pediatric and adult clinics will also learn from the patients to better help those battling symptoms moving forward.
To learn more or make an appointment at the adult Multidisciplinary Post COVID-19 Clinic, visit michmed.org/postCOVIDclinic. To learn more about the pediatric Post-COVID Syndrome Clinic, visit mottchildren.org/postCOVIDclinic.