More May Mean Long

By Scott LaFee

April 14, 2021 5 min read

For a small but troubling number of people who get COVID-19, the symptoms do not pass after just a couple of weeks. They persist, often for months, perhaps longer. A new study suggests one way to predict who might be a long-hauler is the number of symptoms that manifest in the early days, such as fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, fever, cough, hoarse voice and muscle pain.

The study found that the more symptoms reported in the first week of illness, the more likely those problems would persist. Long-haulers also tended to be older, female and require a hospital assessment.

Twin Peaks

Since the 1980s, the number of twin births around the world has jumped by one-third, from 9 out of 100,000 births to 12 out of 100,000. Part of the reason is due to greater use of medically assisted reproduction techniques and the older age of mothers, both of which make twins more likely.

Body of Knowledge

The human skeleton renews itself completely every 10 years.

Get Me That, Stat!

Pandemic precautions, such as masking and distancing, are a necessary nuisance, but they do produce benefits beyond reducing COVID-19 transmission and infection. Acute flaccid myelitis is a rare, polio-like syndrome in children. In 2018, there were 238 documented cases. Due to COVID-19-related prevention measures, the number of confirmed cases in 2020 was just 29.

Stories for the Waiting Room

In a newly released survey of almost 4 million nurses, published in JAMA Network, 1 in 10 said they quit their careers prematurely. For nearly one-third, the reason was burnout from working in a stressful environment with inadequate staffing, not the actual tasks they performed.

Doc Talk

Acetabulum: the curved, bowl-shaped depression in the outer part of the hipbone into which the ball-shaped portion at the top of the thighbone fits to form the hip joint.

Mania of the Week

Aboulomania: pathological indecisiveness.

Best Medicine

Doctor: "I have some bad news and some very bad news."

Patient: "Well, might as well give me the bad news first."

Doctor: "The lab called with your test results. They said you have 24 hours to live."

Patient: "24 HOURS! That's terrible! What could be worse? What's the very bad news?"

Doctor: "I've been trying to reach you since yesterday."

Hypochondriac's Guide

If you're suffering from orthostatic hypotension, please sit down. It is caused when blood pressure temporarily lowers due to blood pooling in your legs after you stand up. It can make you feel light-headed or dizzy. However, if the sensation lasts beyond a few minutes or leads to fainting, it may point to a more serious condition, such as heart disease or diabetes.


"I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous. Everyone hasn't met me yet." — comedian Rodney Dangerfield (1936-2004)

Medical History

This week in 2006, an Iowa ban on the use of the preservative thimerosal in almost all vaccines used on children became effective. It was the first state to do so, followed by California. Thimerosal contains ethylmercury, a compound of mercury. In other circumstances, mercury is known to be a toxic substance, but thimerosal had been used in microgram quantities in vaccines to prevent bacterial contamination since the 1930s. Though there was no compelling evidence that thimerosal posed a discrete health hazard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics asked pharmaceutical companies to discontinue its use in vaccines as a precaution.

Med School

Q: What is an idiopathy?

A: A disease of unknown origin. Typically, the term is placed in front of a diagnosed condition of which doctors do not know the cause or that appears to have arisen spontaneously.


"Oh well. Whatever." — Lola S. Holt (1923-2004)

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Mojpe at Pixabay

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