HOMOSASSA, Fla. — Homosassa father Sam Piliouras loves being active with his family. ABC Action News met Piliouras in 2018 when he and his son Gavin were scalloping off the coast of Citrus County.
But Piliouras has not been active lately, he's been sick.
Piliouras says after testing positive for COVID-19 three times since early July, he suffers daily from shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue and stomach issues.
"It's very scary because I just can’t do what I used to do," said Piliouras.
He’s worried he may not be healthy enough to do the things he used to ever again.
"Now I just get headaches, I get winded quickly, and I have stomach problems almost every day. I hate to talk negative but I think it really affected my lifestyle for the long term," said Piliouras.
Medical experts are calling people with these lingering effects, “Long Haulers.”
COVID-19 Long Haulers are people who continue experiencing symptoms for weeks and even months after getting sick with the virus.
Doctors say one of the biggest concerns is not knowing the long-term damage to the body.
"It may be years from now we get people coming to us with chronic respiratory problems, asthma, chronic cough, or it affects the cardiovascular system and they start getting early strokes or heart attacks. We just don’t know," said Dr. Kirk Voelker, a pulmonologist at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Piliouras says he wishes he would’ve taken the virus more seriously. He says right now he’s trying to be hopeful that he’ll recover and be able to be an active dad again soon.
"Please be cautious out there, listen to the guidelines, and take it seriously," said Piliouras.