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What are some of the possible long-term side effects of COVID-19?

They include lung damage, kidney problems and some neurological problems

MACON, Ga. — Thousands of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have walked away alive, but for some, there could still be looming side effects.

Two months after being hospitalized from coronavirus, Mika Wells is on the mend.

"After I got out of the hospital, I was still, like, 75% weak, so I would say for another three to five days I was still really weak," Wells said.

The Dublin mother of three says she suffered severe headaches, coughing, fever and lost her sense of taste. 

After several weeks back at home, she's feeling like herself again, but not everyone is as lucky.

Dr. Jennifer Hoffman with Coliseum Health System says over the last few months, she's seen some people suffer kidney failure and end up on dialysis.

She says patients on ventilators are more likely to have long-term lung damage, including lung scarring.

"Many people seem to recover and do absolutely fine, as far as we can tell. However, there are people, even pretty young people, who stay sick for several months at a time just with a cough or some fatigue. Sometimes I'll have neurological complaints," Hoffman said. 

Dr. Hoffman says long term side-effects are more for people with compromised immune systems and those who were hospitalized. 

She's encouraging people to continue washing their hands and wearing masks in public.

"Keep avoiding large gatherings. I would encourage eating outdoors at restaurants on the patio, rather than inside where the air circulation is not great. Keep on social distancing as much as possible. Limit the number of friends that you see and things like that," Hoffman said. "It's definitely not the time to be going to crowded places."

Wells says she hasn't felt any long-term side effects, but she does have an appointment at the end of the month to take an updated chest X-ray to examine her lungs.

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