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Long Covid Symptoms - Seven Features of Prolonged Covid 19 Infection

Have you heard of Long Covid symptoms or been wondering where to find information about Covid 19 Long Term Health Impacts?

In this post, we will discuss seven recent findings about this condition, and let you'll know what doctors feel is the best way to treat it.

Introduction

Among the many words we use to describe Covid 19, one of them must be - FRUSTRATING!

Whether it's the impact of the disease and its effects on life as we know it or the search for treatments that work, or the development of virus mutations.

In the last 12 months, we've seen how little we knew and how much more there is to understand about Covid's effects and treatments.

Today, we are looking at one of the most frustrating - Covid 19 long term health impacts and some information emerging from recent studies.

Timeline in Acute Covid-19 Infection

But first, some background.

When you become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus), that initial period when you show symptoms is known as the acute phase.

We quickly learned there are 3 main types of acute infection:

  • people with mild, moderate or severe disease.

There is also a fourth group - asymptomatic - those who do have the virus in their system but show no symptoms.

The duration for acute infection is variable (meaning it differs from one person to another), but it can generally be up to 4 weeks.

However, some people can have ongoing (that is, continuing symptoms) after 4 weeks and even up to 12 weeks of infection with the coronavirus.

Additionally, some others can continue to have symptoms well after 12 weeks.

The group of sick people who do not recover fully from 4 weeks - and even after 12 weeks are variously known as:

  • Long Covid or
  • Continued Covid or
  • Long Haulers (Long Haul Syndrome) or
  • Post-Covid syndrome or
  • Post-Acute Covid syndrome.

Image of clinician placing a stethoscope on the chest if a long covid patient to examine heart and lungs

Latest Covid 19 Long Term Health Impacts.

1. Wide Range of Symptoms

We know there is a wide range of symptoms, including those commonly associated with acute Covid 19.

Here are some examples of symptoms you could have:

Cardiovascular: Symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath and heart inflammation.

Lungs/Respiratory: Chest pain, cough and breathing problems could also signal problems with the lungs.

Skin: People could have skin problems like rashes and hair loss.

General effects: include fatigue, brain fog (not feeling as sharp as you would typically), and not feeling like oneself.

Neurological: here, there is the loss of smell and taste, sleep difficulty, and problems remembering things.

Mental Health: your mood could be affected, with depression and anxiety being among the symptoms reported.

2. What percentage of people go on to develop Long Haul syndrome?

Presently, we are not sure what percentage of people who've been infected with SARS-CoV-2 go on to develop long term symptoms.

Currently, over 100 million people worldwide have been infected with Covid 19.

However, some studies suggest that up to one-third of people in the study group who have symptoms may go on to develop post covid symptoms - in a few cases, up to 9 months after.

Thus - can you imagine how this could affect a huge number of individuals, communities and countries - in terms of the health (and economic) impact?

Worried looking lady of african origin sitting on sofa dressed in jeans and light blue blouse. - image depicts brain fog from long covid

3. Hard to predict who will get the Post Covid Syndrome.

It's also quite hard to predict who will get these symptoms.

Studies show people affected from all races and different age groups.

Furthermore, both male and female gender can be affected - and whether or not you have a pre-existing health condition does not affect the progression to post acute covid symptoms.

4. The Initial Severity of Infection Doesn't Matter

Regardless of how severe your symptoms were or whether or not you were admitted to the hospital in the acute phase - you can still end up with continued covid.

This means the sevrity of infection alone just cannot help us predict those who may go ahead to develop prolonged symptoms.

5.Can be Challenging to Prove a Post-Acute Covid Syndrome

We know the most common symptoms involved in post-Covid are fatigue, loss of sense of taste and smell, followed by cough, breathing difficulties, or headaches etc.

However, thanks to the non-specific nature of their symptoms, some people may struggle to be understood by others - employers, colleagues, friends, or families.

Therefore, it can be challenging to show something is still quite wrong, and that you are not yet 100% ok.

6. No Specific Treatments for Continued Covid Syndrome

There are NO specific treatments for the condition.

It's treatment and any therapy needs to be customised to your individual experience or symptoms - cough/ chest pain/ sleep problems, anxiety etc.

Lady of african origin lying in a bed with white bedsheets - Doctors believe rest and adjusting to a slower pace of life are key to recovery from long covid

7. Treatments recommended by Doctors for Post Covid Syndrome

Doctors treating people with continuing symptoms after Covid 19 say the most important aspect is supportive care.

Firstly, this includes listening to people; accepting they are going through this phase and allowing them time to recover.

Next, providing access to tests and giving the diagnosis makes a big difference to people.

Lastly, in addition to any medicines, they may need a lot of sleep, to slow down a lot and adjust life to a less stressful level.

The outcome of some recent studies suggests that:

The health consequences of COVID-19 extend far beyond acute infection, even among those who experience mild illness. A comprehensive long-term investigation will be necessary to fully understand the impact of this evolving viral pathogen.

Sequelae in Adults at 6 Months After COVID-19 Infection

And finally...

That's your summary about the latest on long covid.

Make sure you comment below and let us know what strikes you most about these Covid 19 Long Term Health Impacts.

If you want to learn more, visit our more reading section and references below.

More Reading:

References

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team

Disclaimer

All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through info@askawayhealth.org

Image Credits: Canva


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