Getting COVID-19 two or three times is not unheard of, and those who do are more likely to have serious long term health problems, according to a recent study.
Ana Chacon has not only survived cancer twice, but also COVID-19 twice.
"I’ve had breast and kidney cancer so I have a low immune system so when I got it a second time I thought, 'oh crap, is it going to be worse than the first time? Am I able to sustain it?' So I was a little scared," Chacon said.
A new study shows she has every reason to be concerned.
Dr. Al-Aly, Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Center, and the Chief of Research and Education Service at Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care, is the lead author of the study. The study found people who have COVID more than once are more likely to develop long term health issues.
"We see people coming down with heart problems, arrhythmia, heart attacks, blood clots, strokes," he said.
The fact the virus itslef keeps mutating not only means you’ll likely catch a different variant each time, but it also means you won’t develop immunity.
"Unfortunately it’s really outpacing us. Every time we think we figured it out like the original strain or the original sub variant of omicron, now we have B.A. 5, which is absolutely a different beast," he said.
"I did have a heart condition which is a fib, and that came in between the first and second bout," Chacon said.
Her heart condition is now under control and she’s not sure if it was brought on by the virus, but she and her husband do blame lingering brain fog on COVID, which her husband has had only once.
"We’ll just say, you know before when I had chemo it was like chemo brain. Well now it’s COVID brain so we just kind of laugh. COVID brain. Which is sad but that’s what happens," Chacon said.
To prevent it from happening to you, Dr. Al-Aly says don’t let your guard down if you’ve already had COVID.
"If you got infected once, it’s still absolutely worth it to prevent yourself from getting it again and again so wear that mask, reduce your risk. If you go out to dinner tonight and they offer you the choice of inside or outside, make that wise choice and dine with your family outside," Dr. Al-Aly said.