NBA Star Jayson Tatum Needs Inhaler Before Games Since Contracting COVID-19: 'It's a Process'

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Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is still experiencing lingering symptoms three months after testing positive for COVID-19.

Tatum, 23, told reporters this week that, for the first time, he started having to use an inhaler before games once he returned to the court.

"It's a process. It takes a long time," Tatum said after the Celtics beat the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday night, according to ESPN. "I take an inhaler before the game since I've tested positive. This has kind of helped with that and opened up my lungs, and, you know, I never took an inhaler before. So that's something different."

"I for sure feel better now than I did a month ago," he added.

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Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty

Many people diagnosed with COVID-19 have experienced long-term health effects, what some have called "long-haul" symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, long-haul symptoms are issues that continue more than four weeks after someone tested positive for the virus.

These symptoms can include tiredness, loss of smell or taste, difficulty breathing, depression, anxiety, concentration problems and headache.

Researchers are still trying to understand why some people experience long-term COVID-19 symptoms while others do not. The National Institutes of Health announced in February that they would launch a new initiative to study "long COVID" to better understand the issue.

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Tatum said he is close to feeling "100 percent" again, but still plans to use an inhaler until he feels he doesn't need it anymore.

"There's no exact timetable," Tatum said to reporters. "[It's] just when I feel comfortable enough and I think I don't need it."

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As of Wednesday, the Celtics have a 29-26 record, landing them currently at fifth in the Eastern Conference. Along with Tatum, other Celtics players have tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the season, including center Tristan Thompson. The team has had to do its best despite the setbacks.

"Obviously, we want to win. But I think for myself, us, playing the right way and feeling good about ourselves," Tatum said, according to ESPN. "We're not going to win every game, but I think we're playing the right way and we're for sure trending in the right direction."