What is Long COVID – Its Symptoms, Risks Factors & Causes
What is Long COVID?
The majority of individuals infected with COVID normally recuperate within a few weeks. However, some persons can continue to experience the symptoms of coronavirus disease for weeks or months after their initial infection. When the post COVID 19 symptoms after recovery in an individual have persisted for more than 4 weeks, this is called ‘long COVID’ or the ‘post COVID-19 condition’.
What are Long COVID symptoms?
Research shows that Long COVID can affect the whole body and your symptoms may occur at different times or in some all the symptoms at once. For some individuals the Long COVID symptoms can go away in some weeks or a few months, however, the same symptoms can continue to torment other individuals for a much longer duration. The four most common types of Long COVID symptoms announced at this stage are:
1. Lung problems
As COVID is mainly concerned with respiration, its effect on the lungs is very well researched and documented. While recuperating, one may perceive having a few issues with the lungs, including breathlessness. You might reckon your breathing to be noisier and breathlessness can occur while walking, using stairs, carrying your shopping bag, etc. Some individuals can experience a wet cough. Lung conditions from Long COVID can include acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia, and sepsis.
2. Fatigue and lack of energy
Individuals recuperating from COVID-19 feel fatigued to varying degrees. Some individuals just feel tired sometimes, while others feel exhausted at all times. This happens because the body continues responding to Coronavirus infection even after recuperating from the initial infection. Hence, it is important to take adequate rest before trying to get back to the pre-COVID fitness standards.
3. Chest pain or tightness
Chest pain is another common symptom that affects individuals while recovering from COVID-19. COVID infection can cause soreness or sharp or dull muscle pain in the chest and tightness in chest COVID that can torment in bouts. One should not ignore these symptoms, especially those with previous heart conditions, as Coronavirus infection tends to worsen the condition. COVID-19 infection can result in congestive heart failure, acute coronary syndrome, arrhythmias, and myocarditis, so do not ignore your chest pain and discuss it with your doctor.
The sleep disturbances, quarantining, exhaustion, loneliness, low social support, and mental health challenges during the course of Coronavirus infection can lead to anxiety or even depression. Lasting psychiatric symptoms amongst Coronavirus survivors are common and a result of psychological factors or a neurobiological injury due to the COVID infection.
Individuals more at risk of developing Long COVID
Research points out that some groups of people are more likely to develop Long COVID and may be affected more by post-COVID conditions. Given below are a few examples of people or groups who might be more at risk than others for developing long COVID conditions:
- Individuals who encountered a more severe COVID-19 illness, especially those hospitalized or required intensive care.
- Persons having underlying health conditions prior to COVID-19 condition.
- People who avoided getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Individuals experiencing multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) during or after COVID-19 illness.
What causes long COVID?
It is still pretty much unclear what exactly results in Long covid symptoms how long do coronavirus symptoms last, however, lately relentless research is offering some clues regarding long COVID. Some researchers have postulated that the human immune response goes into overdrive after the first COVID infection, and it can lead to inflammation and damage across the body, ultimately resulting in a long COVID condition.
There is no exact and definite cure for this condition yet. Living with long COVID can be hard and frustrating when there are no solutions or answers in the sight. Any individual developing Long COVID condition needs to discuss it in detail with their healthcare provider.
Preventing Long COVID
The most judicious way of avoiding Long COVID symptoms and treatment is by safeguarding oneself from getting COVID infected. Research also indicates that individuals who are COVID vaccinated and yet encounter a COVID infection are unlikely to report the long COVID condition when compared to those who are not vaccinated.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I am suffering from the post-COVID-19 condition, can I infect or give it to others?
No, long COVID or post COVID-19 condition cannot be passed on to others.
What are the Long COVID symptoms how long does it last?
Long COVID symptoms after omicron and other variants can range from shortness of breath to heart diseases. The Long COVID symptoms list is given below:
- Difficulty breathing or Shortness of breath
- Concentration, memory, or sleep problems
- Chest pain symptoms
- Depression or anxiety
- Muscle aches
- Loss of smell or taste
For any given patient it is hard to specifically predict how long the post-COVID-19 condition will last. A lot is there to learn about the Long COVID condition; however, studies show that patients encounter lingering symptoms from weeks to months following COVID infection. The studies further confirm that patients eventually improve with time.
Is long COVID dangerous?
Long COVID is not as severe as acute Coronavirus infection; however, long COVID symptoms that won’t go away can worsen the existing condition and enhance the risk of long-term health problems.