Lung Problems After COVID?
After two years, I ventured back to my book club. I love reading and discussing books with neighbors, but I am still afraid to go to gatherings. So, I wore a mask.
Everyone was surprised to see me and wondered why I was still wearing a mask. It was because I am sooo worried about getting COVID again!
It has been 5 months since my first bout with COVID (yes, it took me this long to get it), and my lungs are not getting better.
My COVID experience as someone with asthma
I was terrified to get COVID – and for good reason! I got COVID on Mother’s Day this year (some present, right?!), but my lungs still have not healed. That is very unusual for me.
Am I going to be one of those people with long COVID? I do have the worst luck in the world, so I would not be surprised. Sigh.
When I had COVID in May, it was brutal. I had nebulizers on each floor of my house and was doing breathing treatments every 4 hours around the clock. I had a hard time breaking up with my nebulizers. I just could not live without them.
I also took Paxlovid and back-to-back doses of oral steroids (prednisone). I was sure I would get better soon.
When I get pneumonia, I am usually sick for about a month, then slowly bounce back. In our family of 5, there are 4 of us who have asthma. At least one of us gets pneumonia or bronchitis every winter.
But COVID is different. I am going on month 5 after COVID, and my lungs are not getting better. I am really worried!
Bumping up asthma meds
I have to wait 3 months to see my asthma doctor, so I went to my primary care doctor. He bumped up my dual controller inhaler to a higher dose. I thought for sure that would help. I went through a month of the higher dose, but my lungs are still cranky.
So, I went back to see him. I am depressed that I am not getting better. We decided to add a long acting muscarinic to my high dose maintenance inhaler. It has only been a few days, so I cannot tell a difference yet.
Lung problems 5 months after COVID
One thing I have noticed is that I cannot take a deep breath like I used to. It actually hurts to breathe deeply. Ouch! But I know that if I do not force myself to breathe deeply, I can get pneumonia. So I do my yoga breaths every morning and every night.
Deep breath in (ouch) and slooow deep breath out. Yep, it hurts. But I am going to keep doing it.
I am also coughing up junk out of my lungs 5 months later. Ugh. You would think I smoked or something!
And I am still exhausted. I apologize for all those times my mom wanted me to take a nap as a toddler. I take it back! I want to nap now, but since I am an adult with a busy national job, I can't!
The primary care doctor says he can diagnose me with long COVID at 6 months. Experts are still learning about long COVID, when to diagnose people, and how to treat them.
Is anyone else still having cranky lungs after COVID? Do you have lung problems that are different than when you have had bronchitis or pneumonia? What has helped you recover?
We want to hear from you! Have you taken the Asthma In America 2023 survey yet?
Join the conversation