What’s lengthy COVID and the way lengthy does it take to get better?

Long COVID is a disease in which people suffer from COVID-19 symptoms longer than usual after initially contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Other terms for long-COVID include post-COVID, post-acute COVID, long-tailed COVID, and long-range COVID. People with long-term COVID can describe themselves as long-distance drivers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that long-term effects of COVID-19 can occur in some people, regardless of whether they need to be hospitalized or not. These long-term effects can include fatigue, respiratory problems, and neurological symptoms.

This article looks at symptoms, possible causes, diagnoses, and options to manage and recover from long-term COVID.

Long COVID refers to cases where people continue to experience symptoms of COVID-19 and do not fully recover a few weeks or months after their symptoms began.

Some research suggests that people with mild COVID-19 cases usually recover within 1–2 weeks of the first SARS-CoV-2 infection. In severe cases of COVID-19, recovery can take 6 weeks or more.

Currently, researchers can define post-acute COVID-19 as symptoms that extend over 3 weeks from onset and chronic COVID-19 as symptoms that extend over 12 weeks from onset.

Other researchers have long referred to COVID as COVID-19 symptoms that last longer than 2 months.

A 2020 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests it may take weeks for COVID-19 symptoms to subside and people to return to their normal health. This also applies to young adults without chronic illnesses.

In contrast, over 90% of those discharged from hospital with influenza usually recover within 2 weeks.

Growing evidence suggests that many people may experience symptoms related to COVID-19 long after they were first infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

While it is still unclear how many people have been through COVID for a long time, data from the COVID Symptom Studies app suggests that 1 in 10 people with this disease have symptoms for 3 weeks or more.

Data from the UK National Statistics Office showed similar results, with around 1 in 10 respondents who tested positive for COVID-19 exhibiting symptoms that lasted for 12 weeks or more.

This means that there can be more than 5 million cases of long-term COVID worldwide.

A 2021 study found that more than three-quarters of COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, had at least one symptom 6 months after they were discharged from the hospital.

This is in line with a 2020 study from Italy that found that 87.4% of COVID-19 patients had at least one symptom 2 months after they were discharged from hospital.

A Swiss study from 2020 also found that 1 in 3 people with milder cases of COVID-19 still experienced symptoms after 6 weeks.

Using a statistical model, a Preprint 2020 study found that long-term COVID was more common in older adults, people with higher body mass index (BMI), and women.

It is also advised that people who experience more than five symptoms in the first week of illness are more likely to develop long-term COVID.

Some evidence also suggests that many people with long-term COVID are healthcare workers.

The CDC notes a wide variety of symptoms for COVID-19. They also note that the symptoms people most commonly report with long-term COVID are:

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • to cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain

People can also experience:

  • Brain fog that makes it harder for them to think clearly and concentrate
  • depression
  • muscle pain
  • a headache
  • Fever that can come and go
  • Palpitations or a feeling of palpitations

People can also develop long-term complications that affect the organs. These complications are less common, but can include:

  • Inflammation of the heart muscle
  • abnormal lung function
  • severe kidney injury
  • a rash
  • Hair loss
  • Problems with smell and taste
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • fear
  • Mood swings

Researchers aren’t sure what leads to longer recovery times from COVID-19, but some possible causes of long COVID could include:

  • a decreased or no response from the immune system
  • Relapse or reinfection of the virus
  • Inflammation or an immune system reaction
  • a change in physical functions due to bed rest or inactivity
  • Post traumatic stress

COVID-19 can permanently change the immune system and affect the organs. These changes, especially in the lungs, can take longer than the time it takes for the body to clear the virus.

If a person has had COVID for a long time, they may have had a COVID-19 diagnosis if they had access to a coronavirus test.

To diagnose a long-term COVID, a doctor can take a full medical history and evaluate all COVID-19 symptoms from the onset of the infection to the current symptoms. The doctor can check:

  • Blood pressure
  • temperature
  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Lung and respiratory function

Although there isn’t a specific test to diagnose long-term COVID, doctors can run tests to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. Tests may vary depending on a person’s symptoms, but blood tests may also be done to check for:

  • complete blood count
  • Electrolytes
  • Kidney function
  • Liver function
  • Troponin, to test for heart muscle damage
  • Inflammation levels
  • Muscle damage
  • D-dimer, to check that there are no blood clots
  • Heart health
  • Iron content

Other tests can include:

  • a chest x-ray
  • a urine test
  • an electrocardiogram to check for heart problems

Home remedies for treating long-term COVID will likely be similar to home treatments for COVID-19. Options include:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, to relieve painful symptoms or fever
  • rest and relax
  • Set achievable goals in order to achieve
  • if necessary, gradually increasing the training level

It is also important to take care of general health. This includes:

  • following a healthy diet
  • get good sleep
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Limiting caffeine intake
  • do not smoke

People may also find connecting to a support network helpful, especially if COVID has long been affecting their mental health, financial security, or social wellbeing.

There is currently no clear timeline for recovery from long COVID. Research suggests that people can experience symptoms 60 to 90 days after initial infection, and some people may experience symptoms longer.

In addition to SARS-CoV-2, other viruses can also cause long-lasting symptoms. According to the British Heart Foundation, the duration of symptoms for other viruses suggests that long-term COVID symptoms can go away within 3 months. People can feel tired for up to 6 months.

However, these are rough estimates and recovery times can be different for each person.

Due to the novel state of COVID, researchers and health professionals are still working to understand its causes, treatment options, and possible recovery times.

People with long-term COVID can seek advice from a doctor.

However, a person needs medical help if they have any of the following problems:

  • Shortness of breath that worsens
  • unexplained chest pain
  • a new state of confusion
  • weakness
  • Changes in seeing, hearing, or speaking

If someone needs immediate medical attention, someone can call 911 and let them know they have symptoms that may be related to COVID-19.

As more people discuss their experiences with long-term COVID, some countries are starting to provide more formal support. For example, in the UK, a National Health Service (NHS) COVID recovery resource is now available.

In the United States, informal support groups – such as B. Body Politic – Still the main source for people with long-term COVID symptoms.

Some people with COVID-19 symptoms can recover in a few weeks. However, recovery can take much longer for others.

Long COVID is the term for COVID-19 symptoms that persist weeks or months after the initial infection.

People can discuss a treatment plan with a doctor. Taking steps to maintain their health and wellbeing – for example, through a healthy diet, plenty of rest, and gentle exercise – can help a person deal with long-term COVID.

Medical treatment may be needed to manage secondary infections or complications.

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