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The Irish woman’s warning about the dangers of symptoms after COVID-19 went viral.
On January 8, Rachel Gunn shared a message on social media detailing her frightening experience with pulmonary emboli (blood clots) on both of her lungs. Her post has been shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook and has received over 41,000 likes on Instagram.
The 28-year-old Dubliner fell ill with COVID-19 last October and was bedridden for almost two weeks. She was out of breath and in pain and headaches. Gunn said she returned to work as soon as she felt “semi-good,” but has never felt completely healthy since.
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“For three months, I felt tired, anxious and stressed through the roof and I had pain in my lungs when I was training,” she wrote. “But [I] considered these normal symptoms after COVID [and] I managed to spend my day semi-normal and do minimal exercise. From what I read, I just had to keep going and the symptoms will eventually subside.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers are still determining the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the body. However, common long-term symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and joint pain. Cerebral fog as well as reports of depression, palpitations have also been reported, as well as rarer, more serious symptoms such as inflammation of the heart muscle, abnormal lung function and acute kidney trauma.
Gunn’s health deteriorated shortly before Christmas when she said her health had gone down dramatically.
“For almost two weeks, I was so out of breath that I couldn’t even climb the stairs without feeling like I was running K, even getting up and going to the bathroom was exhausting,” Gunn wrote. “I had a migraine, palpitations, back pain and severe fatigue, slept 15-16 hours a day and still had to spend the whole day in bed.”
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Gunn said she first refused her mother’s requests to go to the hospital for fear of making “too much noise.” Later, however, computed tomography revealed that her lungs were “covered” with blood clots and that her heart was “strained” by the virus.
Pulmonary embolism occurs when one of the main pulmonary arteries is blocked, most often by blood clots. They present with shortness of breath, sharp chest pain and cough and, if not treated immediately, can permanently impair lung function and can be life-threatening.
“I was admitted for three days and I started with blood thinners. Now I have to stay on blood thinners for at least a year, maybe more, “she explained. “I am now susceptible to blood clots and this will affect my life forever. I am 28 years old, active, non-smoker, otherwise healthy. “
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Gunn urged friends to share her post in the hope that it would help raise awareness of the severity of symptoms after COVID-19 – and possibly save lives.
“Please share this post, as I want to pass it on to anyone who experiences worsening symptoms months after COVID, not to ignore it,” she begged. “Ultimate shortness of breath is not something that should be ignored. I am extremely happy to have learned about my clots when I did. “
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