12-year-old getting treatment at UNC has been dealing with COVID effects for more than a year

A recent study found up to one in seven children who caught COVID-19 may have symptoms linked to the virus 15 weeks later.

While data is not conclusive about how many children will get long haul COVID, most studies show it's between 4 and 14 percent.

More than a year after getting COVID-19, 12-year-old Wednesday Lynch, of the Charlotte area, still has lingering effects.

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"It's really disheartening," her mother Melissa Lynch said. "It really is, because I know she's tired of it. And she just wants to be normal again."

Wednesday was diagnosed with COVID-19 last September. Her mother said she's gone back to school but has already missed about 16 days this school year due to health issues.

"Her blood pressure's dropped down to 72 over 50 something and it's just been back and forth, her heart rate," Melissa Lynch said. "She has cognitive issues now from, which is the brain fog, the memory loss and the confusion, from long COVID. Her learning, cognitive has decreased."

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Wednesday lives in Dallas, North Carolina and travels to UNC's COVID Recovery Clinic in Chapel Hill about once a month -- the youngest patient there.

"Wednesday has really been struggling with a lot of fatigue, difficulty with memory and attention, fevers, rashes, pain and she's also had seizures," said Dr. John Baratta, of UNC COVID Recovery Clinic.
Dr. Baratta is founder and co-director of the clinic, which is geared toward adults. He said earlier in the pandemic, adults were thought to be most likely to have lingering issues after getting COVID.

He's worried we'll see more long-COVID among children.

"Anyone who gets infected with COVID-19 is at risk for developing long COVID," Dr. Baratta said. "We see people who even have just a mild initial illness develop lingering symptoms that sometimes are substantially worse than the COVID-19 illness itself. So for that reason, I am concerned that there could be a new wave in the coming months, of people who have lingering effects from COVID-19, specifically the Delta wave."

Melissa Lynch does outreach for a group called Long COVID Kids, to help other parents going through the same thing.

"We cannot beat this pandemic with vaccination alone," Lynch said. "Masks and other pandemic mitigations have to go with it."

Dr. Baratta is encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations for parents and children who are eligible.
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