If you have recovered from COVID-19 but are still experiencing some symptoms, you could have what is known as a post-COVID condition.
This is also referred to as “long COVID” sometimes. Here is what you need to know about long covid.
According to Dr. Janet Diaz, Clinical Management Lead, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, some of the most common symptoms of the post-COVID-19 condition or as you said, long COVID, include shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction, which people call brain fog, as well as fatigue.
“Those are the three most common. However, there have been more than 200 symptoms that actually have been reported in patients. So that list is quite long. So other symptoms that patients or people may experience include things such as chest pain, such as trouble speaking, some described as anxiety or depression, muscle aches, fever, loss of smell, and loss of taste. So the list is quite long, but the top three are the ones that have been described.
“Our understanding of the duration or how long this condition lasts is still not completely clear. It has been described that the condition can last three months, some have described it as long as six months and potentially up to nine months. But as you know, we’re still about one year and a half into the pandemic. There are still more studies that need to be done to follow patients who develop post-COVID-19 conditions or long COVID and to see when their symptoms we hope will resolve.
“Any patient or person who develops post-COVID-19 condition should go seek care. The care pathways should be multidisciplinary in nature, meaning that they can include your primary care provider as well as relevant specialist rehab professionals, social care workers, psychosocial workers, and mental health professionals. And that’s the type of care people with post-COVID-19 conditions should receive. In regards to a specific treatment, we don’t yet have one. The reason is that we don’t yet understand why this develops. So, as we’re learning more about the actual reason or mechanism of the disease development, then we hope to have a specific treatment,” she said.
The WHO expert said there is still a lot to learn about the impacts of vaccination and post-COVID-19 condition.
“However, it is very clear that preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection, and preventing COVID-19 is the best way to prevent the development of post-COVID-19 conditions or long COVID. So the use of vaccines we know reduces hospitalization, reduces mortality, and so all those that are eligible should do that. Public health measures such as mask wearing in the appropriate places, physical distancing, and hand-washing, are also extremely important to prevent COVID-19,” she added.
Recently, the National Covid-19 response coordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva urged people to get vaccinated despite the government easing COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are happy that our vaccination numbers are increasing. That is what we have been pushing for and we will continue to push for it.
“When Cabinet made the decision on wearing of masks in public, it was also to try and encourage people to get vaccinated.”