Recovering from SARS | American Lung Association

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Recovering from SARS

Note: An outbreak of SARS occurred in 2003 and started in China but progressed worldwide before it was contained. There have been no cases of SARS anywhere in the world since 2004.

What to Expect

Most people who get SARS have a severe illness and can expect to be hospitalized. While in the hospital, patients will be isolated from other people to prevent the spread of the virus to other people, including other healthcare workers. Patients should be isolated in a negative-pressure room. Some patients will develop an infection severe enough to be in the intensive care unit. A small percentage of patients have long-term effects including depression or anxiety, cough, shortness of breath, lung disease or kidney disease; however, most patients fully recover from their illness.

Managing SARS

The treatment of a patient with SARS includes supportive care and symptom management. Unfortunately, there is no drug that has been found effective to treat this disease.

Finding Support

Patients with long-term effects from SARS infection will typically develop respiratory symptoms. There are numerous support groups for patients with long-term respiratory problems that can be found online.

The Lung Association recommends patients and caregivers join our Living with Lung Disease Support Community to connect with others facing this disease. You can also call the Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA to talk to a trained respiratory professional who can help answer your questions and connect you with additional support.


    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.


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