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What is Long Covid?

Long Covid (Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection – PASC) is a condition where the affected continues to experience the symptoms and effects of Covid for a duration as long as weeks and months after contracting the virus. It is also known as post-Covid syndrome or long-term Covid. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, ‘a significant fraction’ of people who tested positive for Covid experienced PASC; the high prevalence points to more than half of hospitalised Covid positive case across the world.

What are the symptoms of Long Covid?

According to Dr. Janet Diaz, there have been over 200 symptoms in patients affected by PASC. However, the most commonly found symptoms of Long Covid are as follows:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or Extreme Tiredness
  • Cognitive Dysfunction or Brain Fog
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste/smell
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in speaking

What causes Long Covid?

There is still no certainty regarding the causes of long-term Covid. Certain conditions like smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obesity have been found as high risk factors that can induce severe Covid symptoms in individuals. However, there is no interconnection established between the severity of symptoms and probability of contracting post covid syndrome.

Diagnosis of Long Covid

A very commonly asked query regarding post-covid syndrome is ‘How do you know if you have Long Covid?’ Unfortunately, there are no tests or methods to diagnose post Covid syndrome yet. The most common way people understand that they have Long Covid is by realising they are not feeling alright even after weeks or months after testing positive for Covid. They generally speak of the above mentioned signs of long covid.

Treatment for Long Covid

Several hospitals have started special post-covid clinics to cater to long-term covid patients, helping them deal with the symptoms better.

You should seek immediate medical care if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Breathing Difficulty
  • Pressure or Pain on the Chest
  • Difficulty in eating and drinking
  • Difficulty in keeping yourself awake
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Unexplained and rapid weight gain/loss
  • Extreme confusion
  • Pale blue or grey coloured skin, lips or nails

Some Recovery Tips for Long Covid

  1. Never over-exert and force yourself to get things done; stick to a slow and gradual approach. Give your body time to get back to normal.
  2. Rest frequently, taking small naps rather than a one-stretch long nap, during daytime. An uninterrupted 7-hour sleep is a MUST at night.
  3. Plan your physical exercise routine wisely. Avoid strenuous workouts initially; start with simple exercises for strength enhancement and gradually take it up.
  4. Practice flexibility exercises and stretches to relieve joint and muscle pains.
  5. Remember to take a well-balanced diet, that includes fresh fruits and vegetables; the diet should be broken down into small but frequent meals.
  6. Stay well-hydrated with ample fluid intake.
  7. Avoid alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages.

Enhance your Mental Health during Long Covid

Indeed, long haul covid takes a toll on your mental wellness. It is totally challenging to keep up your spirits as it is to maintain your physical energy. Few small measures can promote the well-being of your mind during long covid.

  1. Always avoid stressful situations at any cost.
  2. Practice mood enhancing techniques like yoga and meditation.
  3. Accept the fact that you are slowly getting back to where you were and be kind to yourself.
  4. Interact more often with optimistic and energetic people. Keep yourself away from negative people.
  5. Make sure to do small workouts regularly.
  6. Spend a good chunk of your time doing things that you thoroughly enjoy.