More than two years since COVID-19 shut down much of the world, many people who were infected with coronavirus are still dealing with the lingering effects of long COVID – even if they weren’t very sick initially. There are three types of long COVID people should be aware of including cell damage resulting from the virus, symptoms related to chronic hospitalization, and cases in which symptoms appear after recovery.
According to the American Medical Association, because COVID affects all organ systems, symptoms of long COVID may include fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, skin rashes, or stomach problems. Loss of smell and taste, anxiety, depression, and insomnia have also been reported among long haulers.
While researchers continue to investigate the connection between the body’s immune system and the inflammatory system, it’s important that people experiencing severe symptoms seek medical attention quickly. In some cases, the symptoms may be related to a new condition but patients chalk up their malaise to coronavirus.
Recent research has found that middle-aged women are more likely to experience long COVID syndrome than males. Often cases of this condition are accompanied by a cluster of symptoms that will need to be treated comprehensively.
Vaccination continues to be the best line of defense from the COVID-19 virus. Patients who are fully vaccinated but contract a breakthrough infection are 50 percent less likely to develop long COVID or post-COVID syndrome, according to AMA Public Health. In addition to vaccination, and boosting when available, continuing to wash hands, distancing, and wearing masks in crowded indoor settings can help decrease the incidences of post-COVID syndrome.
Learn more about Long COVID research and access support for people impacted by post-viral illness by following this link to the Long COVID Alliance. Canadians can find support and information through the Long COVID Canada website.