Children’s National Hospital is working with the National Institutes of Health to study about 2,000 young people who are suffering from “long COVID.”
The D.C. hospital’s new pediatric post-COVID program is designed to study the phenomenon, in which effects of the virus linger long after the disease has cleared the body, WRC-TV (Channel 4) reported.
Studies estimate almost 15% of children infected with the virus could have long-term physical, mental and neurological symptoms. No study has determined how long the symptoms persist.
“A lot of these kids are just very high-functioning to begin with — athletes, star scholars — and are not able to do what they previously did and are looking for some way to get back to their baseline, back to their normal,” said Dr. Alexandra Yonts, who leads the post-COVID program, WRC reported.
Yonts said fatigue is the most common symptom, followed by sleep issues, lack of concentration and brain fog. She also said a few children exhibited shortness of breath, joint pain and loss of taste and smell “even 10 months out of their initial COVID infection.”
While most patients are older teens, with an average age of 16, Yonts said children as young as 3 have been examined, WRC reported.