It’s been nearly two years since COVID-19 first entered our awareness, and it’s had a huge impact on our way of life and our health. So, what do we know so far about the effects and the long-term health implications of COVID-19? Let’s dive in…
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a contraction of the words coronavirus disease 2019. Coronaviruses are very common, and there are many different types, but COVID-19 is a particularly aggressive and contagious strain.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a persistent cough, a fever and a loss of taste and/or smell. However, symptoms can also include fatigue, body aches, headache, congestion, sore throat, nausea or diarrhea.
The severity of your symptoms can vary greatly – whilst older people and people with certain pre-existing conditions are more susceptible, severe cases can affect anyone.
Most people will recover within a few weeks, but a growing number of people are reporting long-term symptoms.
What is Long Covid?
Whereas most people will find their symptoms are completely gone within 12 weeks, other people experience much more long-term effects. Even people whose symptoms were only mild at first can have long-term problems.
Symptoms of Long Covid include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- Memory or concentration problems
- Joint pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Numbness or tingling
- Nausea or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep problems
- Changes to menstrual cycle
- Changes to smell or taste
You must see a doctor if you experience long-term symptoms after contracting COVID-19. Remember if you do test positive for Covid to follow all appropriate safety precautions to avoid infecting anyone else.
What other long-term effects could COVID-19 have?
Some people who have experienced severe cases of COVID-19 may have multiorgan effects or autoimmune issues for weeks or months after the infection. Multiorgan effects can affect many, or even all body systems, including the heart, lungs, kidney, skin, and brain. Autoimmune conditions cause your immune system to attack healthy cells in your body as if they were foreign or damaged cells, causing inflammation or tissue damage.
In very rare cases, some people (mostly children) can develop MIS (multisystem inflammatory syndrome) following COVID-19 infection, where different body parts become inflamed.
Another potential secondary impact of COVID-19 can follow the need for hospitalisation. Any prolonged hospital stay can cause weakness, fatigue or problems with concentration. Some patients even develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
How can I prevent these symptoms?
The best line of defence is to avoid contracting COVID-19. This means wearing face masks in public areas, washing and sanitising your hands regularly, maintaining social distancing and keeping indoor spaces well ventilated. Get a vaccine as soon as you can and follow any self-isolation guidelines as required.
If you have any concerns about your health or Covid after-effects, call us on +61 3 5381 1892 or email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to discuss these with you.