Long COVID FAQs: All You Need to Know About Symptoms, Frequency, and Control of Lingering Post-COVID Complications | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel
COVID-19’s severity may have gone down marginally, and for people with robust immune responses, it may have felt like just another flu. But, make no mistake, COVID-19 is a deadly disease! And even when a person is cured of infection, it can leave a long-lasting mark on a person’s body and make the road to recovery difficult for many patients, more often than you think.
Following India’s third wave of COVID-19, concerns over its long-term implications are growing. As per reports, many people in the country and around the world complain about the long hauling COVID-19 symptoms. There was a similar spike of long-COVID cases in India after the second wave.
“The number of cases reported for long Covid and post Covid complications after the second wave has been four times more than what was reported in the first wave,” Dr M.S. Kanwar, Lead Lung Transplant and COVID Team at the hospital, told IANS.
Here’s what we know so far about the complications associated with long COVID:
What is a long covid?
Long COVID-19 refers to a condition where individuals witness lasting and debilitating symptoms that usually continue for weeks or months beyond the first bout of infection. Health experts often call it a post-Covid condition or Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), while long COVID remains the common term.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains: “Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually three months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for at least two months that cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.”
What are common symptoms of long covid?
A study by the University of the West of Scotland identified more than 100 symptoms associated with post-COVID conditions. The most common symptoms include fatigue, persistent cough, shortness of breath, brain fog, headache, heart palpitations, joint or muscle pain, pins-and-needles feeling, and anxiety that usually impact an individual’s everyday functioning.
Individuals usually develop an upper respiratory tract infection, which often impacts their sense of smell and taste. Loss of sense of smell and taste are clear symptoms indicating long COVID-19. Parosmia is a condition that defines distorted or an altered sense of smell, where smell that was once pleasant turns foul to senses.
A recent study in Sweden, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, claims that around 50% of the people infected with COVID-19 may have long-term and even permanent changes to their sense of smell.
Who is at risk?
Individuals who experienced moderate or severe forms of infection are more likely to battle lingering complications and have difficulty in resuming their day to day activities.
Older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions are also at higher risk of developing lingering COVID-19 symptoms. However, even young individuals with no underlying conditions can also witness the long term effects of COVID-19.
A study done in Israel suggests that vaccinated individuals could be at lower risk of developing long Covid symptoms.
What are the less-common symptoms to watch out for?
In addition to these symptoms, patients often complain of joint, nerve or muscle pain, sleep problems, mobility issues and depression. Persistent loss of hair has also been reported among recovered patients. In some cases, severe complications like heart and kidney problems also develop—especially among those individuals who had developed severe disease or underwent long hospitalisations.
Long COVID also affects human brains and nervous systems at a deeper level, says Avindra Nath, an Indian-American scientist who specialises in neuroimmunology. “There does not seem to be extensive infection of brain cells by the virus, but the neurological effects may be caused by immune activation, neuroinflammation and damage to brain blood vessels,” reads an article on the prestigious journal Science, co-authored by Dr Nath. Neurological symptoms that have been reported with acute COVID-19 include stroke, delirium and brain inflammation.
How to manage?
At present, studies are underway to understand long covid as there’s still much that we don’t know about it. It is still unknown how long symptoms may last or the impact on different individuals.
Close monitoring is essential for those who are recovering from the disease. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing lasting symptoms even after the recovery. Those experiencing loss of smell can indulge in smell training.
Experts highly recommend proper care and a good nutritious diet. One must include seeds, nuts, lentils, dairy products, chicken, egg and fish in the diet.
The best way to prevent post-COVID conditions is to prevent COVID-19 illness, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Each person copes differently with a long-term illness, and there are different ways to manage the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty of a new illness,” it adds.
(With inputs from IANS)
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