Because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, you would expect this coronavirus to affect the lungs, cause sniffles, maybe make you sick (or not), but then go away.

For proof of this belief, just go to the grocery store, or any other store for that matter. More often than not, people are maskless, breathing on top of each other, and visibly unconcerned about the spread of disease.

In general, COVID-19 displays unique symptoms. It can reduce the sense of smell and taste. It can cause a condition called discolored “COVID toes. It can even cause a swollen, bumpy “COVID tongue.”

With 87 million (and rising) cases of COVID-19 in the United States and well over a million Americans already dead, it is becoming increasingly clear that long-distance cases are much more abundant than we didn’t originally think so. This means that if you are infected with this coronavirus, even if the first symptoms are mild, it’s probably not the end. COVID-19, like a rattlesnake, can strike again, and once the virus is inside you, it can cause some really nasty symptoms down the road. For example, take erectile dysfunction.

Studies by scientists in the United States, Canada, Europe, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Thailand – across the world – indicate that COVID-19 increases cases of erectile dysfunction by 20% or more. Some of these studies indicate that months after apparently recovering from COVID-19, conditions persist, including erectile dysfunction and low sperm count. Men who had been sick with COVID-19 were said to be six times more likely to be impotent.

Mild to moderate COVID-19 lasts about two weeks for most people. But others are experiencing lingering health issues even when they have seemingly recovered. Some people test negative for COVID-19, but they may become or remain severely debilitated anyway.

The National Institutes of Health calls the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 “post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2” (PASC), also known as post-COVID syndrome or long COVID. Those with these persistent symptoms are called “long haulers.”

COVID deniers sometimes think that only older people or those with high risk factors, such as high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, etc., are more likely to have a serious episode of COVID-19, but it turns out that’s only part of the story. PASC can also occur in people who have mild or no symptoms.

PASC attacks the body in many ways, including damaging the lungs, heart, nervous system, kidneys, liver, and other organs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-term symptoms of COVID may include one or more of the following: fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain, chest pain, cognitive problems, difficulty concentrating, depression, muscle aches, headaches, rapid heartbeat, intermittent fever, internal scarring, persistent shortness of breath, heart problems, kidney damage, distorted sense of smell and taste, and of course, erectile dysfunction.

After experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, some people suffer from lingering anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Unfortunately, the long haul even includes children and teenagers who were previously in better health. Children can end up with continuous episodes of fatigue, depression, shortness of breath and more. The problem is that some children suffer from complications, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, which can cause serious heart damage.

In addition to the symptoms and health issues faced by long-distance COVID-19 patients, there is a higher risk of dying after catching the virus. A study published in the journal Nature found that people infected with COVID-19 had a 59% higher risk of death than uninfected people. The study also concluded that deaths attributed to COVID-19 and counted at the start of the pandemic were underestimated, as the counts did not include those who died later from long-term COVID-19 symptoms.

Long-haul COVID patients are also much more likely to get sick on the road than those who haven’t been infected. To be clear, long-haul COVID-19 could be our next big health crisis. Those infected have an ever-increasing rate of strokes, nervous system diseases, mental health problems, diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders, kidney disease, blood clots, joint pain and Moreover.

This brings us back to the growing number of cases of erectile dysfunction in men infected with COVID-19. But, to be clear, women are not immune to changes in libido as a result of an infection. Women with long-term COVID-19 may also experience a significant decline in sexual function.

There are treatments for both genders to counter the sexual effects of COVID-19. It starts with understanding the importance of doing everything you can in the first place to avoid becoming infected with the disease, being honest about changes in your body and your libido, seeking professional assistance in case of infection and not to take lightly the damage that can be caused. by the long-term complications of COVID-19.

When we go on a picnic, in the woods, along a stream, on a hike or just hanging out in the garden, we protect ourselves with insect repellent. Mosquitoes can carry the West Nile virus which can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.

We also use insect repellent and wear appropriate clothing to protect us from tick bites. Ticks carry anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, RMSF, tularemia and, of course, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

So when we protect ourselves from mosquitoes and ticks, why are we so reluctant to protect ourselves from COVID-19? Being infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus can cause as much or more long-term damage to your body than a mosquito or tick bite. When venturing outside, it’s a good idea to wear insect repellent. In the presence of other people, it is just as good to wear a mask.

Bill Gindlesperger is a Central Pennsylvanian, a graduate of Dickinson College, Governor of the Pennsylvania System Of Higher Education (PASSHE), Trustee of Shippensburg University, and President of eLynxx Solutions. eLynxx software coordinates and drives the communication, specification, approval, sourcing or production, reporting and activities necessary to secure direct mail, marketing materials, promotion and other printing. He is a board member, campaign advisor, successful entrepreneur, published author and commentator. He can be contacted at Bill.Gindlesperger@eLynxx.com