Long-haul COVIDSunday, July 18, 2021
SINCE the novel coronavirus pandemic began, researchers, scientists, doctors, and the general population have all sought to figure out this unexpected and unpredictable virus.
The huge gaps in explaining the novel coronavirus may have added to our anxieties about the pandemic. However, as time passes, we are comforted with the identification of trends and explanations of how we will be affected over time.
The uncovering of knowledge has included treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, which have given us hope for the future of getting past the pandemic. Outside of this, we have been able to better understand what happens when we are infected by the virus and the long-term effects we may face. A large sample of people, globally, who have suffered from COVID-19 has reported what is now known as long-haul COVID symptoms.
What are the long-haul symptoms of COVID-19 and how do you know you have it? Keep reading to find out.
What is long-haul COVID?
If you have never heard about long-haul symptoms of COVID-19, you may be thinking that not only do you have to worry about catching the virus, but also experiencing these symptoms long after the virus is out of your system.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that one in 10 people will experience “persistent ill-health 12 weeks after having COVID-19”. These are also known as post-COVID-19 conditions, and it is very possible that if you have contracted the virus with little to no symptoms you may still be affected by long-haul conditions. Regardless of your age, gender, or if you have any co-morbidities, this is one phenomenon to which you need to pay attention.
What are the symptoms of long-haul COVID?
Ultimately, these conditions may be different for each person, and they show up as different symptoms over different periods. If you were infected with COVID-19 in the past and are unsure if you are experiencing post-COVID conditions, the following are common symptoms: fatigue, difficulty thinking or concentrating (also known as 'brain fog'), loss of smell or taste, headaches, dizziness on standing, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, recurring cough, joint or muscle pains, depression or anxiety, and symptoms that get worse after various mental or physical tasks.
Your post-COVID-19 conditions may differ from those listed above. If you are experiencing any lingering symptoms that you are concerned about, more than a month after contracting the virus, speak with your doctor and seek out treatment methods to manage your discomfort.
Will long-haul symptoms last forever?
Much information on COVID-19 is new and developing and therefore there are no conclusive answers to any questions. You may be worried that if you do contract the virus you will be suffering forever. Luckily, this does not seem to be the case for those with mild symptoms of both the virus and post-COVID-19 conditions.
Researchers have noticed that post-COVID-19 symptoms seem to come in “waves” for most patients. What this means is one day you'll be perfectly fine and then a few days later you will feel sick with a recurring symptom. This could be as a result of an immune interaction caused by lingering pieces of the virus or simply from long-term damage. The good news is that the waves have been reported to get milder over time. Most patients who have complained about long-haul symptoms have suggested that, over time, whether a few weeks or months, their symptoms have essentially resolved themselves.
A small sample in the United States has also stated that they have noticed a significant difference with their long-haul symptoms after taking the vaccine, but this theory requires more research.
How do I prevent long-haul COVID symptoms?
The best way to prevent long-haul COVID-19 is simply to prevent yourself from contracting it. Ideally, this means continuing social distancing, mask-wearing, as well as close monitoring of your hygiene. When it is available to you, getting the COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from becoming extremely sick if you do contract the virus, and it will make you less likely to see any long-term symptoms.
You and your body
You must pay attention to your body, especially after recovering from an illness as serious as COVID-19. Long-haul symptoms may last a long time, but they likely won't last forever. It may be a long road, but ensure you take good care of your health and treat any discomfort you may notice during your recovery. If you haven't contracted the virus, continue to do your best to avoid doing so — prevention is the best solution.
Dr Ché Bowen, a digital health entrepreneur and family physician, is the CEO & founder of MDLink, a digital health company that provides telemedicine options. Check out the company's website at www.theMDLink.com. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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