Beating Long Haulers Syndrome
Montecito resident and medical journalist Michael Bowker has penned a new book, Beating Long Haulers Syndrome, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. “I really wanted to shed light on Long Haulers Syndrome, and convince people and politicians that it is striking millions of COVID survivors. We need to allocate far more funds for research into treatments and cures,” he told us earlier this month.
Bowker wrote a column in this publication in February, detailing the experience of local real estate agent Billy Mandarino, who was sick for months after he suffered —and thought he recovered — from COVID-19.
“More than 100,000 cases have been reported nationwide, and the number of unreported cases could be far higher. Surveys conducted by patient groups indicated that 50 percent to 80 percent of patients continue to have symptoms three months after the onset of COVID-19 — even after the virus has left their body, according to a report from the Harvard University Medical School. To date, there are an estimated 30,000 cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County, nearly 30 million cases in the U.S., and 106 million cases reported worldwide,” Bowker wrote in February.
In his book, Bowker details the most common symptoms of Long Haulers, also called PASC (Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19). These include profound fatigue, “brain fog,” myocarditis (racing heart), shortness of breath, sleep disorders, blood clotting issues, stomach pain, kidney and liver issues, chest pain, joint pain, cough and burning throat, hair loss, loss of taste and smell, swelling and discoloration of hands and feet, thyroid issues, depression, headaches, and other problems. At its worst, PACS has caused death by shutting down breathing pathways, and causing strokes and heart attacks. There have also been several cases of suicide due to persistent, ongoing symptoms that seemingly have no end or cure, and the depression that goes along with them.
“The book puts an end to the myth that COVID-19 is a two-week-and-out virus,” Bowker said. “Millions of people have suffered from terrible symptoms for more than a year with no end in sight.”
The book, although tackling a somber subject, aims to bring hope to people living with the syndrome, affirming that the illness is real. Bowker thoughtfully interviewed more than a dozen top physicians and clinical directors worldwide, including experts from the NIH, Mayo Clinic, Stanford University PASC Clinic, UC Davis PASC Clinic, Mount Sinai, John Hopkins, University of Washington PASC Clinic, and others. The doctors and clinicians give practical recommendations for patients who are suffering from this disease, as well as share what their experience has been on the front lines of the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bowker also includes stories of real patients from all walks of life, so readers who are suffering may find comfort that there are others suffering from PASC as well. “I worked 13 hours a day because I was so motivated by all the suffering. I plan to keep it up until Congress understands this is a huge health issue and needs to be addressed immediately,” Bowker said.
Bowker is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of more than twenty books published by many of the largest publishers in the world. He has written thousands of newspaper and magazine articles for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Outside, Reader’s Digest, and many other publications.
Beating Long Haulers Syndrome is available in all bookstores and on www.amazon.com. If purchased from the publisher directly, Bowker is offering a discount as well as signed copies of the book: www.sixtydegreespublishing.com.