Long Covid is a term used to describe the effects of COVID-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness.Covid symptoms may pass quickly, but some people are suffering long-term effects. A research study published by Imperial College London, based on half a million people in England, found two main categories of ongoing symptoms: a smaller group of people with respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or breathlessness, (this group was more likely to have had severe COVID-19 illness initially), and a larger group with a cluster of more general symptoms, particularly tiredness and fatigue.
Majority of people who were infected by COVID-19, whether mild or severe, were found to be prone to Long Covid.
Major Manifestations of Long Covid: Tiredness or excessive fatigue, irritable cough, breathlessness, palpitation, difficulty thinking or concentrating, smell and taste dysfunction, acute kidney injury, acute inflammation of pancreas, sleep disturbances, headache, dizziness, joint pain, diarrhea, and changes in menstrual cycle, are some of the major manifestations that can linger post COVID-19 Infection. As newer variants of COVID-19 emerge, newer long-term illness can appear in the coming months.
Identifying Long Covid: There is no one single test to diagnose long Covid. It is a condition that is not fully understood yet.It is necessary to have post covid check up done 4 weeks postCOVID-19 infection with your specialist doctor, which may include blood routine, ECG, X ray and other investigations.
Some people, especially those who had severe COVID-19, experience multi-organ effects or autoimmune conditions with symptoms lasting weeks or months after COVID-19 illness. Multiorgan effects can involve many body systems, including the heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain.
As a result of these effects, people who have had COVID-19 may be more likely to develop new health conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, or neurological conditions compared with people who have not had COVID-19. It is important that research continues to explore postCOVID-19 syndrome in more detail.
Preventing Long Covid: One of the key ways to reduce the risk of long Covid is to get vaccinated. The vaccine not only reduces the risk of catching COVID-19, but there is also evidence that for those who do catch it, being vaccinated makes it less likely they will develop Long Covid.
Long Covid Treatment: Managing Long Covid needs proper assessment by a specialist doctor post COVID-19 infection.Most of the symptoms are treated symptomatically and can render good relief post treatment.
Dr. Jibin John Thomas MD
Registrar, Internal Medicine
International Clinic, Farwaniya