It is becoming more and more obvious that the COVID-19 pandemic’s consequences will be long-lasting as we approach the two-year mark since it first broke out. The pandemic’s knock-on consequences have had an effect on practically every part of our lives, from physical health to mental health, social interactions and economic impact.
The potential for long-term health issues is one of COVID-19’s residual impacts that medical experts find to be the most worrying. Despite the fact that many people only have mild to moderate symptoms, which go away on their own, some people endure more severe symptoms that linger for several weeks or even months following infection.
These signs may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Soreness in the muscles and joints
- Trouble focusing
This illness is often referred to as ‘Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection’ or ‘Long COVID’.
However, COVID-19’s impact transcends one’s physical well-being. Additionally, the pandemic has had a serious effect on mental health, with many people reporting higher levels of anxiety, depression and social isolation. And experts say that the pandemic’s effects on mental health might last for years.
The economy is another sector hard hit by the pandemic, with firms closing, unemployment rates rising and many families finding it difficult to make ends meet. Governments have taken several steps to lessen the economic burden, but it is still unclear how the pandemic will affect the economy in the long run.
Although the future is unpredictable, it is best that we continue to put high priority on our physical and mental well-being and support one another during these trying times.
What is Long COVID?
It is called ‘Long COVID’ due to the lingering effects that can be felt in weeks, months or even years. Grasping the concept of Long COVID means learning to understand the symptoms felt by each person. Though symptoms may be common to each one, it doesn’t mean that everybody will experience what each one has.
Symptoms of Long COVID
Lethargy, shortness of breath, soreness in the muscles and joints, trouble focusing are some of the symptoms mentioned above. But here are the others:
- Persistent cough
- Loss of smell or taste
- Brain fog
- Lack of sleep
- Mood swings
- All kinds of body pains
Why do these symptoms appear? Each person is unique, and so is his well-being. After COVID-19, the level of recovery by each individual varies too.
The exact mechanisms behind the development of Long COVID are still not fully understood. However, medical experts believe that it is likely a result of a combination of factors.
1. Persistent damage to various organs and systems in the body–COVID-19 is known to cause inflammation, which can damage tissues and organs, and may contribute to long-term symptoms.
2. Autoimmune response–The virus may also trigger an autoimmune response, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues, leading to ongoing symptoms.
3. Another possibility is that Long COVID may be related to the body’s immune response to the virus–After an infection, the immune system produces antibodies and other immune cells to fight off the virus. It’s possible that in some people, the immune response continues even after the virus is no longer present, leading to ongoing inflammation and symptoms.
Remember that asymptomatic or moderate cases of COVID-19 can still be impacted by Long COVID. The chance of developing this long-term predicament does not appear to be correlated with the severity of the first infection.
Overall, there is still much to learn about the precise causes of Long COVID. However, in order to create efficient therapies and care for those who are affected, medical professionals are attempting to better understand the disorder.
Long-haul COVID is another term for Long COVID. Post-COVID patients with lingering symptoms are called ‘long-haulers’.
Long-haulers experience ongoing symptoms following their initial COVID-19 infection. The symptoms can be diverse and affect different organ systems, including respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and gastrointestinal systems, amongst others.
Long COVID’s unpredictable and diverse character is one of its distinctive features. Others may have a more complicated combination of symptoms that change over time, although some people may only have one or two chronic symptoms. While some patients may develop new symptoms after their initial infection, others may continue to endure symptoms from their initial illness.
Even though research on Long COVID is still in progress, a number of trends have surfaced that can aid patients and physicians in identifying and managing the disorder. For instance, Long COVID patients frequently experience neurological symptoms such as exhaustion, brain fog and memory issues, as well as respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. Frequently reported are gastrointestinal issues like nausea and diarrhoea.
Effects of Long COVID on mental health
The effects Long COVID may have on mental health are still another crucial factor. According to studies, those who have Long COVID are more susceptible to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. This may be because of a number of things, such as persistent physical symptoms, the potential social isolation brought on by illness and the unpredictability and ambiguity of the condition.
All things considered, Long COVID is a complicated, diverse disorder that needs continued study and care from medical experts. While there is still much to learn about the disorder, it is crucial that patients and doctors collaborate to identify, treat and support people who are suffering from Long COVID.
What you can do if you are a long-hauler COVID
Following a COVID-19 infection, get medical attention if you continue to experience symptoms. Your medical professional can assist you in managing your symptoms and keeping track of your general health because Long COVID can be a complicated and unpredictable condition.
If your symptoms prevent you from working or performing everyday tasks due to cognitive issues, discuss the problem with your healthcare practitioner as they might be able to suggest therapies or plans of actions and bring back the quality of life you used to have.
Mental health that involves symptoms of anxiety, depression or isolation as a result of Long COVID should not be ignored. Seek support right away from mental health professionals.
Don’t wait to get help if you continue to experience symptoms after contracting COVID-19. You can control your symptoms and enhance your general health and well-being with the appropriate medical treatment and assistance.
We understand how Long COVID can take a toll on our health. Imagine the length of lockdowns, isolation, financial stress from rocketing hospital bills, death of loved ones and many more, we can say it is normal to be burdened with emotional problems, affecting mental and physical health. Yet, there are many promising ways to cope.
No matter if your symptoms are caused by the virus, a post-viral syndrome or the pandemic’s consequences, it doesn’t make your pain any less genuine or give you no control over how you feel. There are things you can take to reduce your symptoms, reclaim your health and improve your happiness, even though there is still much we don’t know about Long COVID.
Firstly, you need to practise safety by observing health protocols. Next, get vaccinated. Thirdly, you can lead a healthy lifestyle by avoiding alcohol and smoking, observing a healthy diet and finding help and support.
For more information about Post-COVID and Long COVID, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are open to all your queries.