COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A long COVID-19 patient is grateful for doctors at Ohio State who have helped her get back on track.

Allison Saulino said she tested positive for coronavirus in August, but her lingering side effects lasted months. She sought help from the Post-COVID Recovery Program at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“I was pulling muscles, I was coughing so severe and just in so much pain,” Saulino said. “I woke up one morning and I had horrible chest pain, like I thought I was having a heart attack because it was on the side of my heart.”

As a mom of quadruplets who just graduated from high school, Saulino said she missed most of her kids’ senior year activities because of the lingering side effects.

But once she found Ohio State’s Post-COVID Recovery Program, doctors diagnosed her with asthma.

“I’m like, ‘I don’t have asthma; I’ve never had asthma,’” Saulino said. “‘You know, my sister was the one with an inhaler growing up – it wasn’t me, I’ve always been fine.’”

Doctors at Ohio State, however, reassured her and said they have discovered a number of long COVID patients experiencing the same symptoms as Saulino.

“We’ve known  for quite some time that viral infections can trigger adult onset asthma, and we have seen that in quite a few COVID patients,” Dr. Jonathan Parsons, a pulmonologist at the Wexner Medical Center, said.

Parson said long COVID patients can experience myriad symptoms, including fatigue, muscle and body aches, shortness of breath, persistent cough, confusion, brain fog, or loss of taste or smell.

“Somewhere around 20% of patients, we think, can actually experience long COVID after experiencing acute COVID infection. 

To treat her symptoms, Saulino said she is now using an inhaler twice a day and feels much better. She encouraged others experiencing long-term COVID side effects that help is out there.

“I’m feeling so much better, and thank goodness for the COVID recovery clinic and those doctors that have put so much time and effort into really trying to figure out this virus,” she said.