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Health experts launch long COVID-19 support group in northern Colorado

UCHealth says sessions will provide information, discussion for patients and loved ones
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LOVELAND – UCHealth experts are launching a new information, discussion and support group in northern Colorado to help people who are struggling with long COVID-19.

The group will meet monthly with the first four sessions scheduled for 5:30 to7:30 p.m. on Feb. 13, March 12, April 9 and May 14 in the Longs Peak Conference Room on the lower level of UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies, 2500 Rocky Mountain Ave., in Loveland.

“There are lots of patients struggling with long COVID. It is more common than people think,” said Dr. Matthew Light, a pulmonary disease and critical care medicine specialist for UCHealth Pulmonology Clinic – Greeley and Loveland.

“We want to provide a place to discuss long COVID and share symptoms. There is no specific treatment per se (for long COVID), so this group can share what works and doesn’t — bring individual experiences and insights and meld this into what we know in the medical field.”

“It will be a two-way street of sharing,” he said. “A place to talk about experiences and heal as a group.”

Many people recover from COVID-19 within a few days or weeks. But for others, symptoms may linger for weeks, months or even years. Long COVID encompasses an extensive range of persistent symptoms, including:

  • Chronic fatigue.
  • “Brain fog” and other neurological problems, like dizziness, headaches or mood symptoms.
  • Change in vision or eye redness.
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Neck pain or thyroid gland swelling.
  • Shortness of breath or chronic cough.
  • Chest pain, irregular heartbeat or fainting.
  • Changes in urination, heartburn, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Shaking in the hands or swelling in the legs or feet.
  • Changes in menstrual cycle or symptoms or erectile dysfunction.
  • Rashes, hair loss or jaundice.
  • Muscle aches or joint pain.

Because symptoms are highly variable, many people don’t realize they are dealing with long COVID.

“They know something is wrong but don’t know what it is, and many have not sought treatment,” Dr. Light said.

In Colorado, more than 15% of all adults report having experienced long COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Long COVID Household Pulse Survey taken in October 2023.

The Long COVID Information, Discussion and Support (IDS) group is free and open to anyone experiencing symptoms that appear to be long COVID, whether they’ve been diagnosed with it or not.

People experiencing long COVID, their friends and their family are invited to attend. Dr. Light, along with registered nurse and clinical educator Michaela Martinez, registered nurse Maggie Hinz and chaplain Ryan Wooley will facilitate group sharing and lead educational topic discussions. Attendees can suggest topic discussions through this online form. They can also email [email protected] for more information.