01/7There are several symptoms associated with long COVID
While on one hand we know that being well informed and remaining in isolation can help stop the spread of COVID, on the other hand we are clueless about the long COVID condition which follows after a COVID infection.
There are several symptoms associated with long COVID, which occur in an individual irrespective of the nature of the COVID infection.
The long COVID conditions have aroused interest among researchers who are still working on how these conditions occur and what is the mechanism behind its occurrence.
02/7What does the research study say on the prevalence of long COVID?
As per a study published in The Lancet journal 12.7 percent of those who had COVID-- around one in eight -- suffered from long-term COVID symptoms. The study was done between March 2020 and August 2021 and more than 76,400 adults had participated in it. The participants were asked to fill an online questionnaire on 23 common long COVID symptoms and each participant had to fill the form around 24 times.
The study is based on the observation of those people who contracted the infection during that time. It found that around 5.5% or close to 4,200 people got COVID during the study of which 21% had at least one new or severely increased symptom three to five months after becoming infected.
It also found that nearly nine percent of a control group which did not have COVID reported the long term symptoms too.
03/7What does it say about its duration?
The study found persistent symptoms in COVID positive participants at 90-150 days after COVID.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also said that long COVID conditions occur after 3 months from the infection.
As per the study the symptoms in the participants were chest pain, difficulties with breathing, pain when breathing, painful muscles, ageusia or anosmia, tingling extremities, lump in throat, feeling hot and cold alternately, heavy arms or legs, and general tiredness.
The study is based on data collected within Lifelines, a multidisciplinary, prospective, population-based, observational cohort study examining the health and health-related behaviours of people living in the north of the Netherlands.
04/7Long COVID symptoms
The common long COVID symptoms are extreme weakness or fatigue followed by breathlessness, cough, and muscle ache. Other symptoms are: persistent cough, trouble in speaking, loss of smell and taste, fever and lack of sleep.
As per another recent study published in the Lancet journal, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey up to May, 2022 estimated that 2 million people in the UK had self-reported long COVID. "Of these people, 72% reported having long COVID for at least 12 weeks, 42% for at least 1 year, and 19% for at least 2 years. Consistent with other studies, fatigue was the most common symptom in the ONS survey, followed by breathlessness, cough, and muscle ache," the study said.
05/7Impact of long COVID on mental health
Though the study did not assess the participants for mental health conditions post-COVID, it has emphasized on the importance of research in this field. "Nevertheless, research shows that COVID-19 might also affect brain functioning and mental health. Therefore, future research should not overlook mental health symptoms (eg, depression and anxiety symptoms), nor additional post-infectious symptoms that were not assessed in this study (eg, brain fog, insomnia, and post-exertional malaise)," the research paper reads.
COVID has put lots of stress on people. From the beginning of the pandemic with lockdowns and shutdowns, till now COVID has taken a toll on the mental well being of people.
Anxiety, uncertainty and loneliness were massively reported before long-COVID issues came to fore. It has been found that after a COVID infection many people find it difficult to go back to their normal way of living. Cognitive dysfunction which is not an uncommon occurrence post-COVID has been impairing the lives of several people.
Brain fog, depression, forgetfulness, and the inability to concentrate is being widely seen in people.
06/7Are 'mild symptoms' a relief from long COVID complications?
Very often people ask if only severe COVID symptoms lead to long COVID complications.
Not always true. Since a lot needs to be explored in long-COVID, one thing is evident that the severity of COVID infection has no link with the occurrence of long COVID.
Health experts and researchers have strongly advised to be aware of long COVID conditions as many cases where people who had mild symptoms showed extreme signs of COVID later on. Even several studies have found cases of long COVID in people who did not have COVID, thus hinting that the prevalence of long COVID is possible in asymptomatic cases as well.
This has been backed by leading health agencies as well. “While most persons with COVID-19 recover and return to normal health, some patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms,” says the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
07/7Health tips during long COVID
While there is no distinct medication to cure long COVID, at the present situation it can only be managed.
Depending on the nature of the symptom, the individual has to make lifestyle changes and seek medical help to sail through post COVID complications.
If you have neurological issues, speak to an expert, take sessions which might help you a lot in recovering.
Do not sit and wait for the condition to get away on its own. These symptoms are notorious for human health and can linger for months and even years.
They can impair human life by putting an enormous impact on daily activities.