More than 1.07 million Americans have died from COVID-19 pneumonia since the outbreak, ranking highest in the world, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University on November 25. Additionally, more than 98 million people worldwide have been affected. The ultra-strong transmission of new subtype strains is expected to cause more than a third of Americans to become infected with COVID-19 by the start of next year, and about one-fifth of these infected people may develop "Long COVID" by the end of the year.
On November 21, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a report, recommending that public places in the United States force or advise people to wear masks and maintain social distancing to prevent injuries caused by “Long COVID".
Post-COVID-19 symptoms are known as “Long COVID." According to the World Health Organization, "Long COVID" refers to symptoms that persist for at least two months after 3 months following the infection with COVID-19 and that cannot be attributed to any other illness.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), "Long COVID" can cause more than 50 diseases that can affect almost all organ systems including the lungs, heart, and brain systems. Brain fog, headache, vertigo, sleep disorders, etc., are common symptoms of Long COVID. The most common symptoms include fatigue, haze, dyspnea, and memory loss.
Jennifer began her career as a nurse in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas. For the past 30 years, the hospital has praised Jennifer for her commitment. The effects of COVID-19, however, have destroyed her during the past two years.
At the beginning of 2020, Jennifer joined the front line of the anti-epidemic. At the end of that year, Jennifer was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia, although Jennifer's symptoms were mild and she presented no underlying diseases, and she was still a marathon enthusiast on weekdays, but to Jennifer's surprise, she had fallen into a whirlpool of "Long COVID" since then.
Jennifer's life has been plagued by dizziness, auditory hallucinations, and memory loss for more than two years due to a sudden feeling of exhaustion. She has also experienced vertigo and auditory hallucinations. Since she was diagnosed as a COVID-19 patient, Jennifer has never been able to return to the workforce.
Because there are several patients with Long COVID, the pathogen is unknown, and the condition is changeable, which makes it difficult for the great majority of patients to receive aid from present medical treatment. In the event of insufficient medical resources, a significant number of patients with Long COVID began to seek the assistance of telemedicine resources and allow doctors to remotely lead them through rehabilitation treatment at home.
Dr. Li, a herbalist at Long COVID care center, conducted a large number of studies on "Long COVID" in the past two and a half years, helping more than 300 patients with "Long COVID" like Jennifer and creating the first platform for online Chinese and Western medicine treatment of "Long COVID". Because there were too many patients, his appointment schedule had been arranged for March 2023.
A combination of Chinese and Western medicine was applied at the Long COVID care center to help patients with Long COVID relieve their symptoms, especially dizziness, headache, and other brain fog symptoms, as well as memory loss and other symptoms. Long COVID patients come to the care center for a consultation, and herbalists usually suggest patients do the following western medicine examinations:
The first item, do several PCR tests and dip a swab cotton swab in the nasal cavity and throat to get insufficient secretions. Then do the test and check whether the result is positive, if positive, it shows that there are still active COVID-19 in the body.
The second item, the neurological examination is performed. For example, MRI for brain function is conducted, including MR angiography for brain function. Brain perfusion imaging (single photon emission computed tomography) is also required if necessary. Cerebral perfusion imaging, which is perfusion imaging using CTP and MRP, has become a routine method to examine cerebral blood flow perfusion in stroke patients.
The third item, in addition to basic blood tests, patients are assessed for thyroid hormones, zinc, ferritin, antinuclear antibodies, rheumatoid factor, and blood sedimentation rate.
The fourth item, comprehensive cardiac function tests shall be performed, if the patient has persistent symptoms of shortness of breath, anemia, signs of heart failure, latent arrhythmias (e.g., atrial fibrillation), and enteritis pneumonia must be assessed.
Then herbalists at Long COVID care center shall perform traditional TCM dialectical diagnosis and treatment:
First, traditional Chinese medicine diagnoses of observation, hearing, and inquiry are carried out, in combination with western medicine examination reports and physical examination reports, to obtain the most detailed information about the patient's condition, so that the doctor can make the most accurate syndrome differentiation and treatment through the patient s condition.
Second, TCM doctors shall classify and summarize the main symptoms, accompanying secondary symptoms, physical condition, and sick parts of the internal organs of the patients according to the most comprehensive disease information of the patients. The main symptom is the most unbearable symptom of the patient at present, such as dizziness symptoms. Accompanied secondary symptoms mean other uncomfortable symptoms except for main symptoms, such as occasional chronic headaches and so on. The physical condition of the patient is the patient's current physical health status, which category belongs to the TCM constitution. For example, yang deficiency constitution, phlegm-dampness constitution, qi deficiency constitution, blood stasis constitution, and so on.
TCM doctors, according to the above summary, combined with the internal organs and meridians related to symptoms, comprehensively use the theory and practical experience of TCM to make TCM prescriptions for patients. If acupuncture and moxibustion are required, these programs will also be prescribed.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory is mainly based on: Zhang Zhongjing’s “Treatise on Febrile Diseases”, “Synopsis of Golden Chamber”, Huang Yuanyu's “Four Sacred Hearts Source”, “Typhoid Fever Suspension”, “Jinkui Suspension”, “Changsha Yao Jie”, Li Dongyuan 's “Treatise on the Spleen & Stomach”, and Zhang Jingyue' s “Jingyue Quanshu”.
Through western medicine examination and dialectical treatment of traditional Chinese medicine, the herbalists at Long COVID care center shall provide patients with integrated traditional Chinese and western medicine improvement programs, helping patients get rid of Long COVID symptoms as soon as possible.
As for western medicine prescription, patients can choose antiviral drugs published by the World Health Organization, which can be used to treat COVID-19, as well as some immunomodulators.
Traditional Chinese medicine formulas recommended by the herbalists at Long COVID care center :
(1) Banxia Tianma Pills are used to invigorate the spleen and remove dampness, reduce phlegm and calm wind, and mitigate dizziness symptoms.
(2) Mailuotong Capsules are used to dredge meridian vascular congestion, protect cardiac pericardium and reduce arrhythmia.
(3) Xifeng Tongluo Headache Tablets are used to clear away heat and toxic substances and reduce the symptoms of chronic headaches.
Acupuncture programs are given by the herbalist: using electric moxibustion apparatus, and moxibustion is performed at the following acupoints.
(1) Baihui, Ashi, Shenshu, and Guanyuan point to improve brain metabolism.
There are many patients with Long COVID, and the lack of medical resources makes it difficult for the vast majority of patients with the disease to obtain help through existing medical treatment. Only by seeking new solutions, can we find a breakthrough in Long COVID rehabilitation. Patients seek help from telemedicine resources not only to avoid medical runs but also to allow patients bodies to recover as soon as possible.