Study aims to reduce long-term symptoms
A new rehabilitation treatment for COVID-19 “long haulers” — people who contract mild or moderate illness but then continue to suffer symptoms like headaches, fatigue, fever, breathing difficulty and smell loss for weeks or months — is being studied by UD assistant professor of psychology Julie Walsh-Messinger and Noah Greenspan of the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation.
The study, which recruited participants in the New York City area, is investigating the effects of a combination of treadmill exercise and oxygen therapy.
“If things go the way we think they will, this could be a game-changer.”
“If things go the way we think they will, this could be a game-changer,” Greenspan said. As a result of the immune system’s response to the virus, long-haulers can suffer from exercise and activity intolerance, post-exercise malaise and inflammation. “By quieting these inflammatory responses using both exercise and supplemental oxygen, we are seeing people’s exercise tolerance and symptom burden improving and, in many cases, resolving completely,” he said.
Walsh-Messinger first connected with Greenspan as a patient suffering from post-COVID syndrome and then underwent the treatment being studied at his Post-COVID Rehabilitation and Recovery Clinic.
“The protocol we are studying has the potential to improve patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and overall physical and mental well-being,” she said. “It could make a big difference because it has the potential to be easily adopted and administered.”