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Reading Room

The reading room includes articles and videos of potential interest to consumers and medical professionals. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the NC Medical Board, its members and staff.

Long-Haulers are pushing the limits of COVID-19 vaccines

The Atlantic
March 25, 2021
When I spoke with Letícia Soares on March 12, day 335 of her battle with COVID-19, she was celebrating an anniversary of sorts. It had been 11 months to the day since the start of her illness—an unrelenting sickness that has pinwheeled her through more than 65 symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, migraines, diarrhea, chest pain, hair loss, asthma, abdominal pain, brain fog, heart problems, and painful inflammation in both eyes. When the vaccine rollout began, she and her partner, who also has long COVID, couldn’t help but worry. “Is it safe?” she recalled thinking at the time. “Could it exacerbate our symptoms?”

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What we know and don’t know about long Covid

March 23, 2021
It doesn’t have a formal name or a definition. No one can predict who will develop it, but whether you call it long Covid or post-acute Covid-19 or just identify yourself as a long-hauler, the constellation of prolonged symptoms after Covid-19 infection has become all too familiar.

About one-third of people who were sick enough to need hospitalization — including supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation to breathe — still struggle with problems affecting their bodies and their minds four weeks or more after the first onset of symptoms. About 1 in 10 people who had Covid but were never admitted to a hospital report they experience bewildering brain fog, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, or crushing fatigue in the months after the first signs of their initial illness. Some see no end in sight; others seem to recover.

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CDC says it’s safe for vaccinated people to do these activities

March 8, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for vaccinated people, giving the green light to resume some pre-pandemic activities and relax precautions that have been in place.

Specifically, the new guidance says, people who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have gotten the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

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The short-term, middle-term, and long-term future of the coronavirus

March 4, 2021
When experts envision the future of the coronavirus, many predict that it will become a seasonal pathogen that won’t be much more than a nuisance for most of us who have been vaccinated or previously exposed to it.

But how long that process takes — and how much damage the virus inflicts in the interim — is still anyone’s guess.

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5 Medical appointments you should stop putting off

March 2, 2021
As the medical community unearths troubling consequences for people who put off routine or emergency health care during the coronavirus pandemic, an urgent message is going out to patients: There are some medical appointments you just shouldn’t put off any longer, even if you’re nervous about venturing into a clinic or emergency room.

In the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was one of many primary care doctors making tough decisions about who needed to be seen in person and who could wait a few weeks. But as weeks have turned into nearly a year, our calculus has changed.

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