WASHINGTON (WDVM) — He’s a familiar face on WDVM 25. Michael Del Sontro is a weekend meteorologist. Back in May of 2020, Del Sontro tested positive for COVID-19 — a virus that affected him both off and on air.  

“While I was on air on the weekend, my face turned bright red, all of the veins started popping out on my forehead, my whole skin was red,” said Del Sontro. “I went on air… I just kept everything to my left profile. And then, that night when I got home, it was about 1:30 in the morning, I went to the ER.” 

Given his current health status and age, Del Sontro considers himself in the category of Americans who normally make a full recovery from the coronavirus. That was not the case. 

“I’d probably say I was in the best shape I’ve been in for a long time,” he said. “As much as I took COVID serious, I still thought of it as, ‘okay well, if I get it, symptoms are going to be on the minimal side, and it’s not something that I’m really going to have to worry about.’ But, it didn’t even stop from there. I’ve had issues going on ever since I had COVID, where I just feel like it’s in your body, it just kind of pings around.”

Bronchitis, dry cough, and hives were just some of the lingering effects that Del Sontro dealt with for several months after his run-in with COVID. And he’s not alone. The National Institutes of Health posted a study finding that up to 26% of those who had mild COVID-19 reported at least one symptom that lasted more than two months.

Dr. Fabian Sandoval is the CEO and Research Director at the Emerson Clinical Research Institute in Washington D.C.  — he has worked with patients who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. His biggest tip for those who still have symptoms months after testing positive for COVID-19?

“It’s very important to stay in touch with their provider so that we can see what the cause of the headache is, and if it really is associated with inflammation which, remember, COVID-19 causes inflammation,” said Dr. Sandoval.

“You see lingering effects in a lot of conditions. If someone has a stroke, the stroke is gone, but one of the lingering effects is that they may now have a weak leg or a weak arm. So, these are lingering effects. All of these things have to be assessed. And then proper medication to help manage these symptoms until they will eventually start to diminish and go away,” he added.

The lingering symptoms have slowly faded for Del Sontro, but he still uses his experience as a COVID wake-up call for everyone. “You really have to take this seriously. It affects everybody a bit differently, and that’s the most important thing to know.”