Health Advice



What does long COVID feel like?

Hanh Truong, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Health & Fitness

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For Anna Chumley, her long-haul COVID-19 symptoms started with a rash. One that would appear and reappear randomly, spotting her back, face and neck with itchy, red bumps. Then, came the constant back pain, chest pain and racing heart.

Chumley, who caught COVID in summer 2020, said she would sometimes feel like she couldn't breathe.

"I honestly felt like I was dying but I didn't know from what," the Atlanta-based Emory University law student said. "It was like the strangest thing. And like the problem was, unfortunately, when you feel like that, life doesn't slow down around you. I still had exams to take, I still had zoom classes to attend."

She ignored the symptoms, until one day, while driving, the 22-year-old's chest started to tighten. She was confused.

"I have no clue why this is happening," she thought to herself at the time. "I'm not running, I'm not super stressed out."

Chumley called her mom, a family nurse practitioner, who told her it was time to go to a doctor.


Around the same time, a former Sacramento area massage therapist reopened his previously shuttered business. He had also been sick with what he now believes was COVID-19, though it went undiagnosed.

He had mostly recovered from his infection by July 2020. But the 34-year-old, who asked for anonymity to protect his medical information and business reputation, said memory loss and brain fog plagued his entire summer.

He said he was making scheduling errors and double-booking clients.

"Eventually, it became clear to me that the frequency and the type of errors that I was making, I would endanger my clients and their health and their bodies," he said. "I started becoming convinced that I needed to actually just retire and like, stop working because my brain wasn't the same anymore."


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