‘Like there is a car sitting on your chest:’ New program at Tidelands seeks to help COVID long-haulers

Grand Strand

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — Tidelands Health has launched a new program aimed at helping COVID-19 ‘long-haulers.’

The Tidelands Health Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program is open to people who have symptoms for at least three weeks after they were initially diagnosed. The program provides a multidisciplinary care team that the hospital says can offer personalized treatment.

“Some may need to see a cardiologist because of cardiac issues ongoing,” Director of Primary Care for Tidelands Health Dr. William Epperson said. “Many develop depression.”

Patients who begin the program meet with a primary care physician who will perform a complete exam to determine the next best steps.

“Patients need the opportunity to have someone that is an expert show them how to get their fitness back,” Epperson said.

The CDC calls it ‘Long COVID’ and says it can impact people months after they actively have the virus. Symptoms can include fatigue, anxiety, joint pain among a laundry list of other symptoms.

“My husband physically has to help me out of bed a lot of days,” said Melissa Gault, a COVID long-hauler in Upstate South Carolina. “I don’t go around others because they’re, my physicians are afraid if I get something else on top of this it could be really bad and I don’t know if my body can take anymore.”

Gault said she’s dealt with serious symptoms after first getting COVID-19 near the first of the year.

“I haven’t been back to work,” she said. “I’m a teacher of 22 years. We own two businesses. I haven’t set foot in the business since.”

Gault is pushing through her symptoms though and advocates for more support and resources for long-haulers like her. She works with Karyn Bishof, Founder of the COVID-19 Long hauler Advocacy Project.

“Trying to get things enacted to help long-haulers, trying to get more post-COVID care centers to open and fill them with providers,” Bishof said.

For more information about Tideland’s program, call 1-866-TIDELANDS or click here.

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