The world today, as we all know, is currently grappling with COVID-19, an ongoing pandemic that has taken a massive toll on literally everything and everyone. Thousands of people have been affected by a coronavirus, where some have fully recovered, some are still in recovery, and many have lost the battle against it. In most cases, people have recovered completely within a few weeks, but there are many instances in which some have continued to experience COVID-19 symptoms post-recovery.
COVID-19 symptoms can sometimes persist for months, thereby increasing the risk of long-term health problems.
This condition has been termed as ‘long COVID-19” or “post-COVID-19 Syndrome,’ and people experiencing this condition are referred to as ‘long haulers.’
What’s surprising is that these people continue to experience symptoms that linger well after even testing negative for coronavirus.
According to Dr. Sandeep Lahoti, a gastroenterologist leading the COVID-19 Recovery Clinic at Houston Methodist,
“We’re seeing continued evidence that a fair number of people who have had COVID-19 continue to feel the effects of this illness for weeks to months after recovering from the worst of their symptoms or complications.”
While doctors are still unsure as to how long these symptoms can persist, reports and evidence show that they can last at least six months and even longer in some people.
The cause of these lingering COVID-19 symptoms is also unclear, and doctors don’t know for sure as to why the post-COVID-19 syndrome occurs. However, hypotheses suggest that it could due to prolonged inflammatory response and hidden areas of infection.
Furthermore, the question about the long-term outcomes of these lingering symptoms is also not so clear, given that there aren’t any such outcomes. Although doctors and researchers know that coronavirus can certainly impact the quality of life, it is too soon to assume that it could cause ongoing organ damage or other such severe effects.
What Are The Symptoms of Post-COVID Syndrome?
Just like how COVID-19 brings with it a host of mild to debilitating symptoms, the same way the post-COVID-19 syndrome also comes with a range of lingering symptoms.
The most common symptoms that one can experience after being positive for COVID-19 include:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Joint pain
- Loss of taste and/or smell
- Chest pain
- Sleep issues
- Brain fog also includes an inability to concentrate.
- Impaired memory
- Body ache
Who Can Experience Lingering COVID-19 Symptoms?
According to what doctors have said about the post-COVID-19 syndrome, people with serious medical conditions and older people are most likely to experience lingering symptoms. However, even young and healthy people without any medical history tend to feel unwell and tired post-initial recovery.
In terms of life-threatening COVID-19 cases, doctors assumed that patients who suffered a stroke or severe pneumonia are the only ones who would require post-recovery specialized care after being discharged. It isn’t exclusive to those people; people with mild COVID-19 symptoms also run a high risk of lingering symptoms.
Dr. Sandeep Lahoti has said that “Some studies show that only 10% of people with COVID will go on to develop the post-COVID syndrome, while other studies are showing much higher percentages — some even suggest that up to 70% of people experience persistent symptoms.”
However, if we were to narrow it down to particular groups of people, individuals that are most at risk of developing post-COVID syndrome include:
- Adults over the age of 50
- People who experienced a more severe case
- Individuals with underlying health conditions, particularly cardiopulmonary issues, hypertension, diabetes, or obesity
Unknown Long-Term COVID-19 Effects
Regardless of how quickly COVID-19 has spread worldwide, a lot is still unknown about this virus. Doctors are suggested to closely monitor people affected by COVID-19 so that they can observe how their organs work and function post-recovery.
Furthermore, numerous medical centers in different parts of the world are opening up specialized clinics and care centers to help and provide care to people experiencing lingering symptoms after recovering from COVID-19.
What To Do When Experiencing Post-COVID-19 Syndrome?
If an individual happens to experience lingering symptoms after recovering from COVID-19, the first thing they should do is schedule an appointment with their primary care physician.
A medical professional will help determine the severity and intensity of your symptoms. If the symptoms are mild, they will probably prescribe you some medications and suggest some self-care treatment options.
However, if the symptoms are severe, they might hospitalize you or refer you to a specialist who has experience in advanced COVID-19 cases.
Since this virus’s symptoms are so diverse, and it’s such a unique kind of condition unlike any other that the world has seen before, you must get immediate help if you experience the post-COVId-19 syndrome.
There’s no denying the fact that COVID-19 has wreaked massive havoc all over the world, and the post-COVID-19 syndrome has only made matters worse.
The lingering symptoms of coronavirus can range from mild to serious, but the long-term effects have been quite serious in most cases so far.
While most people with COVID-19 generally tend to recover quickly, there are potential long-term effects and long-lasting problems from COVID-19 that one can experience even after the initial recovery.
At this point, it is now more important than ever to reduce the spread of coronavirus by following all SOPs and necessary precautions such as keeping hands clean, using a sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, wearing masks, and avoiding large crowds.