More than half of the 236 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide since December 2019 will experience post-COVID symptoms—commonly known as “long COVID”—up to six months after recovering.
Governments, health care organizations, and public health professionals should prepare for the large number of COVID-19 survivors who will need care for a variety of psychological and physical symptoms, researchers say.
During their illnesses, many patients with COVID-19 experience symptoms, such as tiredness, difficulty breathing, chest pain, sore joints, and loss of taste or smell.
Until recently, few studies have evaluated patients’ health after recovering from the coronavirus. To better understand the short- and long-term health effects of the virus, researchers examined worldwide studies involving unvaccinated patients who recovered from COVID-19.
According to the findings, adults, as well as children, can experience several adverse health issues for six months or longer after recovering from COVID-19.
The researchers conducted a systematic review of 57 reports that included data from 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children diagnosed with COVID-19 from December 2019 through March 2021. Among those studied, 79% were hospitalized, and most patients (79%) lived in high-income countries. Patients’ median age was 54, and the majority of individuals (56%) were male.
The researchers analyzed patients’ health post-COVID during three intervals at one month (short-term), two to five months (intermediate-term), and six or more months (long-term).
“One’s battle with COVID doesn’t end with recovery from the acute infection. Vaccination is our best ally to prevent getting sick from COVID-19 and to reduce the chance of long-COVID even in the presence of a breakthrough infection.”
The mechanisms by which COVID-19 causes lingering symptoms in survivors are not fully understood. These symptoms could result from immune-system overdrive triggered by the virus, lingering infection, reinfection, or an increased production of autoantibodies (antibodies directed at their own tissues).
Read the full article about long COVID by Barbara Schindo at Futurity.
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