Winnipeg woman shares her experience of dealing with long-lasting COVID symptoms

A Winnipeg woman is sharing her experience with COVID-19 and the lasting effects she has felt despite recovering physically.

Karen Myshkowsky says she has been dealing with brain fog since recovering.

"I could see a face, I could see images, but to put that, to match the word up with the image was just impossible," she said.

Not being able to put a name to a face is just one example of how Myshkowsky is still being impacted by COVID.

When she first contracted COVID over Christmas, she said it hit her hard.

"The second day when I had symptoms I put my feet on the floor and even my feet hurt. And that's something I'd never experienced with the flu or a cold."

But a longer-lasting neurological symptom which is being called COVID fog is something she recognized right away.

"I have experienced brain fog. About 20 years ago I was diagnosed with a vestibular disease called Menieres."

On Wednesday, Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of Manitoba's Vaccine Task Force, addressed COVID fog, sharing research about how the virus is affecting the brain.

"Neurological symptoms, including persistent cognitive impairment was shown to affect about one in four people who had COVID. So that's 25 per cent of survivors. That's really alarming," Reimer said on Wednesday.

She referenced another study out of Israel which showed people who were vaccinated and contracted COVID went back to baseline.

"Meaning that people who were vaccinated and had the infection, their risk of reporting long-lasting symptoms were the same as people who were never infected in the first place."

Myshkowsky said she felt validated when she heard Reimer talking about these symptoms and it made her want to share her story. She encourages others to not minimize how they are feeling.

"I think it’s really important for medical professionals to table these side effects, these symptoms that people have. It's a real thing, you're not losing it, it's a real thing," said Myshkowsky.

She said as time has gone on she feels like her COVID fog is improving and she thinks the vaccine has a lot to do with her recovery.

A spokesperson for Shared Health said, "Manitobans experiencing symptoms associated with long-COVID can access a variety of specialists for treatment via referral, most likely from their family doctor.”