DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The University of Dayton is partnering with The Pulmonary Wellness Foundation to research treatments for COVID ‘long haulers.’
A long hauler is someone who has a mild or moderate illness like the coronavirus, but continues to suffer from symptoms long after the estimated infection time.
Many coronavirus long haulers experience symptoms like fatigue, fever, headaches, breathing issues and loss of smell for weeks to months. University of Dayton Assistant Psychology Professor Julie Walsh-Messinger contracted COVID-19 last March, and even after testing negative for the virus continued experiencing weakness, high blood pressure, smell loss and other symptoms.
Messinger then contacted Pulmonary Wellness Foundation founder Noah Greenspan, who lives and works in New York City. Messinger went to NYC for two months, working with Greenspan three times a week.
“At this point we’ve consulted with about 225 long haulers,” said Greenspan.
Greenspan’s studies and treats COVID-19 long haulers by using oxygen therapies and treadmill exercises. Once Messinger began improving, she decided she wanted to help others who’ve suffered like her. Messinger then asked Greenspan if he’d like research help, to which he accepted. Then, Messinger contacted some of her students at The University of Dayton.
“The goal is to very very gently retrain the system to breathe, and to not spike a temperature,” said Messinger.
Now Messinger and her students, along with Greenspan, study the effects that the combined treadmill and oxygen therapies have on patients mental and physical health. The hope is these treatments will eliminate symptoms.
“One of the aspects of the study we’re doing with The University of Dayton involves not just exercise but oxygen use. We do believe oxygen can help to cool off the sympathetic nervous system to help people return their autonomic function like blood pressure, heart rate. and things of that nature,” said Greenspan.
Participants must be 18-55 year old females who contracted the virus in February, March or April of last year. The participant must also have been clinically diagnosed and is continuing to have symptoms. A positive PCR or antibody test isn’t required. The participant must also be available in the NYC area.