What Is Long-COVID? What Are Its Symptoms?

by Shatakshi Gupta

Even a few months after recovering from COVID-19, many people are experiencing fatigue, fever, headache and loss of smell. Besides, mental illnesses are also bothering people. Following multiple complaints, medical practitioners and researchers have started paying special attention to it. The health department is also worried that why are the symptoms of some people not getting over even after the removal of the virus from the body.

Doctors and researchers associated with the area are calling this problem Long-COVID.

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What are the symptoms of Long-COVID?

In this field, a study was conducted on 143 people hospitalized in Italy. It was found that 87.4% of the patients complained that at least one symptom persisted. Fatigue was the most common symptom. Cough, skin rash, rapid heartbeat, headache, diarrhoeaand ‘pins and needles sensation are other symptoms that have been reported so far.

As per the study, patients can be divided into two groups. In one group, cough and difficulty in breathing are included, fatigue and headache are also kept in that. The second group has symptoms affecting other parts of the body, such as the heart, stomach, and brain. Pins and needles sensation, increased palpitations and numbness of an area are considered symptoms in this group.

Which patients experience such symptoms?

It can occur in patients with mild, minor or severe symptoms. So far, no specific trend has been shown regarding this. A report by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention studied 3,171 COVID patients who were not hospitalized. 69% of them had to visit doctors one or more times in six months.

How is this affecting mental well-being?

 Anxiety and depression can occur due to long COVID. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has alosbeen seen in people who have recovered. According to a study published in Lancet Psychiatry, adults suffering from chronic COVID are more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric problems.

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Long COVID in India

 There is no specific data regarding Long COVID in India. Neither the government has monitored it nor does any study seem to be taking place in this field in India. We have data from the UK, where we have seen a deadly second wave.  According to the National Statistics Office, 1.1 million people have reported chronic COVID symptoms in the four weeks ending March 6. Two-thirds of them had symptoms even after 12 weeks. If we look at the figures of the second wave in India, then the number of people battling Long COVID can be very high. This could add to the burden on an already stressed health infrastructure.

Post recovery care is required

Experts believe that even after recovery, it is necessary to monitor recovered people for a year. Only then one can say with certainty that the people who have recovered are completely healthy.  People battling a long COVID can be cured only with a multidisciplinary and multi-care approach. The reason for this is that COVID-19 is harming many organs of the body.