What are the Long-term Effects of COVID-19?
Though most COVID-19 patients usually recover and return to normal health within a short time (2-6 weeks), the long-term effect of the COVID virus may become apparent shortly after and last for weeks or even months.
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC ), numerous health complications can develop following a COVID-19 infection. A post-COVID-19 patient may experience recurring fatigue, bronchial difficulty, and other long-lasting adverse effects; however, they are not infectious and possess no life-threatening implications to loved ones.
A person’s risk of developing post-COVID symptoms does not relate to the severity of their infection. In other words, people with no signs or mild symptoms can still experience long-term effects of COVID-19 illness.
Causes of Long-term Effects of COVID-19
Several factors, such as age, underlying medical conditions, and the use of certain medications can increase the risk of contracting COVID-19; however, the relationship between these factors and COVID-19’s long-term effects is unclear.
While several researchers are actively searching for the cause of the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection, some researchers believe these health problems persist due to the body’s autoimmune response to the COVID virus.
Symptoms of Covid-19
There are several symptoms you may experience after a COVID-19 infection. Common post-COVID-19 symptoms you may experience include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell and taste
- Lack of concentration
- heart palpitations
- depression and anxiety
- relatively high temperature
Long-term Effects of COVID-19
According to a recent study, approximately 30% of COVID-19 patients with impact crucial to regain their life entirely severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had long-term lung abnormalities.
There are several unknown long-term effects of COVID-19 infection; however, the most common long-term symptoms include depression, intermittent fever, and shortness of breath.
Distorted Senses of Smell and Taste
COVID-19 infection alters chemoreceptors cells in the nose and mouth, leading to a partial or complete loss of taste and smell. This symptom resolves within a few weeks after recovery; however, symptoms may persist in others.
Although this condition is not life-threatening, persistent loss of taste and smell can be devastating, leading to a lack of appetite.
Mental Health issues
The result of a 2020 study reveals that the global pandemic resulted in an increasing level of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. Several factors that can contribute to these mental health issues include:
- Death of a loved one
- Job loss and financial crisis
- Pre-existing mental health condition
These mental health factors can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder or psychological trauma.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that predominantly affects the lungs; however, severe cases can damage vital organs such as the kidney and heart. Extensive organ damage may increase the risk of developing other medical complications such as stroke and kidney failure.
Blood Clotting Problem
COVID-19 infection causes frequent blood clotting, which can block tiny blood vessels in the heart, resulting in a medical emergency. COVID-19 weakens blood vessels in the body, causing them to leak and increasing the risk of developing other long-lasting health issues.
Treatment of Long-term Effects of COVID-19
In the US, numerous healthcare facilities and providers have set up post-COVID clinics to provide specialized care to people recovering from COVID-19.
Your doctor will recommend an effective treatment option such as breathing exercises, medication, or physical therapy based on your symptoms. In severe cases, your doctor may work with a therapist to discuss the support and care you may need.
How to Prevent Long-term Effects of COVID-19
The best way to prevent the long-term effects of COVID-19 is to prevent infection in the first place. It is crucial to understand the potential impact of the disease and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Constantly wear a mask and maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet when in a public place. Proper handwashing hygiene is critical to preventing the spread of the disease.
As researchers strive to provide long-lasting treatment and management strategies, it is crucial to protect yourself by strictly following the COVID-19 prevention guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While symptoms may disrupt your activities, be aware that recovery is a gradual process and may take some time to regain your life fully.