Chicago young adults share life-changing COVID-19 long-haul symptoms

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Young adults are warning people in the Chicago area about the long-term effects of COVID-19.

While the virus might not be life-threatening to all who contract the virus, it can be life-changing.

Summer Maxwell said she contracted COVID-19 in July. She reported feeling constant dizziness and loss of taste and smell.

"The initial feeling was shocking, devastating," she said. "I was constantly eating food, constantly drinking things that normally had a potent taste. Couldn't drink anything. Couldn't smell anything. Nothing."

Five months later, the 27-year-old Chicagoan said she is still feeling the impact of the virus.

She said her smell has finally returned, but so has the dizziness. When she drinks alcohol, her taste buds vanish all over again.

"It's nothing like it. To feel completely normal and then be almost absent from your body is exactly how it feels," she said.

Jhary Bornio said she faced respiratory challenges and labored breathing as a result of the virus, and she also lost her sense of taste and smell.

The 32-year-old said she has seen an ear, nose and throat specialist.

She said the road to get her senses back has been a costly one.

"Now I'm doing a treatment that's not covered by insurance so it's expensive," she said.

The ladies are members of a group that no one wants to belong to: the "long-haulers," who experience side effects of COVID-19 long after contracting it.

"Younger adults often do not get as sick with COVID to begin with, but young adults just like others can be susceptible to long, lingering symptoms or so called long-haul COVID," said Dr. Deborah Burnet, Chief of General Internal Medicine, University of Chicago.

Burnet said the symptoms can range from fatigue to shortness of breath, coughing, joint pain, brain fog and loss of taste and smell.

"You can't predict what symptoms an individual will have. Some people are dealing with headaches, sleep problems. So it's not something to toss off. Oh, I can deal with not smelling. Nobody knows how it's going to affect them," she said.

Chicago R&B singer Jeremih recently shared the story of his battle with the virus after the spent weeks in the hospital fighting for his life.

RELATED: Jeremih shares details of fight for life against COVID-19, new album with Chance The Rapper
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After his weeks-long battle with COVID-19, Chicago R&B singer Jeremih is opening up about the fight of his life for the first time on camera.



At 33, he considered himself to be very healthy.

"I was weak. I went in there probably weighing 220 and I left at 175. I'm like I'm damn near skin and bones," he said. "I wouldn't wish that on nobody, to go through what I went through," he said.

Bornio and Maxwell said they were grateful because they know things could look a lot worse for them, but they can't help but wish that their lives would go back to normal.

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See the full interview with Samantha Chatman, Jeremih and Chance the Rapper.

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