With the distribution of vaccines and the lifting of restrictions, the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is slowly decreasing. However, for some people, the symptoms of the condition seem to persist and remain for a long time. Experts call this “long COVID”, which refers to when people experience the symptoms of COVID-19 for longer than normal after first getting the coronavirus.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some people can experience the long-term effects of COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they were hospitalised upon their initial infection. Other terms for long COVID include long-tail COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID, and post-COVID. To learn more about this post-COVID condition, here are the most important things you should know about long COVID:
Symptoms of Long COVID
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most commonly reported symptoms in people with long COVID are cough, chest pain, joint pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some people may experience severe symptoms after being initially cleared of the virus, such as headache, muscle pain, recurring fever, heart palpitations, brain fog, and depression.
In some cases, it is also possible for people to develop long-term complications that impact their organs. Nonetheless, these complications are less common, and include the following:
- Serious kidney injury
- Heart muscle inflammation
- Abnormal lung function
- Difficulty with taste and smell
- Hair Loss
- Sleep problems
- Memory and concentration issues
- Mood changes
Researchers are not quite sure what causes the long-term effects of COVID-19. However, some of the possible causes of the condition consist of:
- A lack of or decrease in response from the immune system
- A reaction from the immune system or inflammation
- Reinfection of the virus or relapse
- A change in physical function because of inactivity or bed rest (also called deconditioning)
- Post-traumatic stress
For some researchers, the lingering issues associated with long COVID may be caused by an injury to several organs, such as the heart, lungs, and brain. COVID-19 may also lead to long-lasting changes to one’s immune system, which can impact these organs. These changes may last longer than the time it takes to eliminate the virus from the body.
People Likely Affected
At present, researchers are still working to understand which individuals or groups of individuals are more likely to experience post-COVID symptoms, and why. According to the studies conducted so far, some demographics may be more affected by long-COVID than the others. While not a comprehensive list, the following are examples of individuals or groups who might be more at risk than the others of the experiencing long-COVID:
- Those who have experience more severe symptoms of COVID-19, particularly those who were hospitalised or required intensive care
- Those with underlying health conditions before contracting COVID-19
- Those who experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) prior to or after contracting COVID-19
- Those who did not get a COVID-19 vaccine
As of now, more research is still needed to determine exactly why long-COVID symptoms develop and who are likely to be affected by the condition. With that said, what we can be sure of is that persistent post-COVID symptoms exist, and they affect a significant number of people around the world.
When left neglected, these symptoms may worsen overtime and lead to serious complications. Therefore, if you suspect that you have COVID-19, whether for the first time or recurrent, you should immediately undergo a virtual ART test in Singapore and seek medical attention. Getting a vaccine is also highly advised, as it can lower your risk of experiencing the more severe symptoms of the disease.
For a reliable supervised ART test booking, the MyCLNQ app is here to assist you! As an app for telemedicine in Singapore, MyCLNQ will help address your medical needs in just a few clicks. From setting a medical appointment to booking a virtual ART test, MyCLNQ will make sure that you get everything you need without much hassle.