How Will I Know If I Have Long COVID-19?
Coronavirus has morphed into this life-threatening ailment that has now claimed over 800,000 lives, and this figure is expected to rise during the winter season. Vaccines are helping, but COVID-19 and its aftermath will possibly stretch far beyond this timeframe. Recovery time varies from one person to the next. Some people feel better within a few days, while others can be ailing for up to three months, and the healed population may experience health problems. If exposed to coronavirus, Dr. Nilay Shah at Formé Medical Center and Urgent Care offers same-day testing for appointments made before 1 pm.
What is long COVID?
Long COVID, post-COVID-19 syndrome, or post-COVID-19 conditions, are the aftermaths of suffering from COVID. People who are recovering from this illness or consider themselves cured of the terrible symptoms they endured at the onset of the infection sometimes have lingering medical problems. These symptoms persist for longer than four weeks after the initial diagnosis and after initial recovery. This population is now referred to as long haulers, and they are primarily senior citizens whose immune systems are weak. Older people could already be battling diabetes, coronary conditions, and other age-related diseases before contracting COVID. The lingering signs of COVID include:
- Impaired memory
- Loss of taste or smell
- Fever, coughs, and headaches
- Increased heart rate
- Pain and aches in the joints or chest
- Labored breathing
- Mental disorders like anxiety
- Sleep disturbances
These and many other lingering symptoms worsen after engaging in mental or physical activity. Besides the above symptoms, long COVID affects vital organs like the brain, heart, and kidneys. Therefore, it is common to find patients recovering from COVID-19 only to find themselves battling severe illnesses down the line. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is a condition where internal organs become severely inflamed due to the lingering effects of this dangerous illness.
How can I get help for Long COVID?
Even if you experience the above symptoms and more, it is prudent to get tested by a qualified physician. You can start with telemedicine consultations to discuss what you are going through, after which you will schedule an appointment for testing.
The attending doctor will draw blood, perform x-rays, and check your heart rate and blood pressure. These measures will help them determine if your signs could result from other health issues. If your symptoms are not debilitating, they recommend managing autonomously at home. Patients who can barely cope with the signs of post-COVID-19 syndrome get referrals to a dedicated rehabilitation service to guide their recovery journey.
There are many unknowns regarding COVID-19, and the new mutations are not helping. Research efforts are afoot to gather as much information as possible, even as more vaccines are developed. Big medical centers have specialized clinics to help patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome, and there are many support groups.
As you can see above, recovering from COVID-19 is relatively easy for many. Still, some patients are unlucky and spend a lot of time recuperating at home or in care facilities. Take the necessary precautions to safeguard yourself and your loved ones, and get tested as you deem appropriate.