What are the long-term effects of COVID-19?

22 February 2021 Leave your Thoughts

Though the study of COVID-19 is still ongoing, medical researchers are noticing a worrying pattern among recovered patients: They’re developing long-term aftereffects. The phenomenon is referred to as “long COVID,” and “long haulers” are patients who suffer auxiliary symptoms after they’ve recovered from the initial COVID infection. These symptoms differ from case to case and are still being researched.

The Lasting Effects of COVID-19

The long-haul symptoms that a patient suffers seem to depend significantly on the severity of their initial COVID-19 infection. The levels of severity can be classed as mild, moderate, severe, or critical. Mild and moderate symptoms often warrant self-isolation at home, but patients with severe and critical symptoms require hospitalization and medical support.

Before we move on, it’s important to note that the COVID-19 virus is a relatively new phenomenon currently being studied. As such, one should acknowledge that the growing body of information on the subject may shift and change, depending on more recent studies and findings.

What follows are symptoms that COVID patients experienced after recovering from the virus.

Mild and Moderate Cases

  • High levels of fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low-grade fever
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Remembering things
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Skin rashes
  • Chest pains
  • Heart palpitations

Severe Cases

  • Nerve pain
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Developing pulmonary fibrosis
  • Developing myocarditis

Vulnerable Parties

It’s also worth noting that some parties are more susceptible to the long-term damage wrought by COVID-19. One vulnerable group is the elderly. Due to their weakened immune system, older generations are more likely to suffer from the virus and also more likely to exhibit long COVID symptoms. That is why Dr Geralyn Frandsen, Assistant Director at Maryville University’s online nursing programs, looks at preventive measures to keep people fit and healthy. She highlighted in an interview the importance of exercising caution among the elderly. A few of the measures Dr Frandsen suggests for seniors are getting home deliveries instead of going out to public places where older people can get exposed. If you must go out to pick up supplies like groceries, it’s better to pick a time that the store won’t be crowded — this isn’t such a huge burden for retirees since their schedules will be more flexible than those who are still in school or working.

Research has shown that children are also vulnerable to the virus’s aftereffects. However, in their case, the symptoms are neurological. One instance involves a fifteen-year-old teen who began experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations after recovering from COVID-19. And her case isn’t an exception, as one study reports four similar cases. Dr Omar Abdel-Mannan, a pediatric neurology specialist and the study’s lead author, shares that the sheer amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases could potentially translate to thousands of patients with neurological symptoms. Given this, medical researchers must start looking into the neurological effects of COVID-19, not just on children but patients of all ages.

These findings should further cement the importance of staying safe. Avoid physical contact with any vulnerable parties, even if they happen to be your loved ones. It might be difficult to stop yourself from hugging or kissing friends and family, but remember that you’re doing it for the sake of safety. COVID-19 is far more dangerous than we initially thought, and that’s all the more reason to protect yourself. Because by protecting yourself, you’re protecting your loved ones and the rest of the world.

Written by: Megan Plum 

Photos: Road Trip with Raj, Annie Spratt

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