Update on risks, recovery and treatment

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Recovery from prolonged COVID can take weeks, and in rare cases, symptoms may last up to a year. Junior Images / Getty Images
  • New data has emerged about the prolonged effects of COVID and a person’s odds of contracting it.
  • Mental health may put some people at greater risk of contracting COVID for an extended period.
  • The condition can also increase your risk of developing mental health problems.
  • Treatments are also developing, but a health care professional can help you find help, such as support groups or medications to relieve physical symptoms.

Shops, schools and stadiums are back to full capacity. Walk inside one, and depending on where you live, you’ll likely be hard-pressed to find the majority of people in masks.

For the general population, the COVID-19 risk assessment is now individualized. The virus that closed businesses and forced schools to go remotely in March 2020 has become a fact of life and a minor inconvenience.

But for people with post-COVID conditions, which is more commonly referred to as the long-term COVID, life has changed dramatically since their illness.

Center for Disease Control Prolonged COVID is broadly defined as a group of new, recurring, or persistent health problems that a person experiences for at least four weeks after infection.

Although much of the focus has been on physical symptoms, such as tiredness or coughing, new research is emerging about mental health effects.

Recently, the Seattle-based health data company Trueveta Reuters analysis Which indicated that individuals with prolonged COVID-19 were more likely to start taking prescription antidepressants than people who had fully recovered.

The desire to move forward and learn to live with COVID-19 is understandable, but experts stress that more information about the long-term effects of the virus is essential.

“Recognizing prolonged COVID is important for people who are suffering because we can then identify and normalize prolonged COVID as a valid disease and provide guidance and treatment for those with this condition,” Dr. Jacqueline Leung, Co-Director of the COVID Recovery Service at UCI Health.

Here’s what we know about the physical and mental effects of COVID-19, what scientists are still learning, and where people can turn to resources.

Reports of individuals with long-term COVID included large ranges of percentages. For example, file CDC mentioned That 19% of adults who contracted COVID-19 had prolonged COVID-19 in 2022.

Another study for 2022 It was suggested that the risk of prolonged COVID-19 infection was 24 to 50% higher for people who contracted the Omicron variant than the delta variant.

Study 2021 He noted that studies have shown that long-term COVID appeared in 4 to 66% of pediatric patients.

Why all the contradictions?

“It’s impossible to know how many people will experience COVID for a long time, as the condition is still relatively new and scientists are still learning about it,” he says. Mandy de VriesEd, MS-RCL, Director of Education for American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

But de Vries notes that up to 4% represents a significant number of patients.

“The virus has now infected tens of millions of people around the world,” de Vries says. “Even if only a small percentage of these people have had COVID for a long time, this is still a large number of people who will be dealing with health problems for months or even years to come.”

No expert sees these numbers as a cause for concern, but rather as an ongoing obligation to protect yourself and others.

Dr. Yasmine Valentine says Friday Health.

These are the precautions we’ve been hearing about since 2020, Including:

  • Keep up with vaccinations and boosters
  • Test as needed
  • Stay home if you suspect or know you have COVID-19
  • Wear a quality mask indoors like N-95

Anyone can have COVID for a long time, but De Vries says preliminary results point to factors that make people more susceptible to contracting COVID for a long time include:

People who have experienced multiple episodes of COVID-19 are also at increased risk of developing long-term symptoms.

There is a wide range of prolonged symptoms from COVID-19, but Valentine says that some of the most common include:

  • Fatigue that interferes with daily life
  • Cognitive impairment, or brain fog, which makes it difficult to think or focus
  • Fever
  • rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • sleep problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Joint or muscle pain

Study 2022 in the UK Of adults who were not hospitalized and still had symptoms 12 weeks after infection, they said the most common symptoms included loss of smell, hair loss, and sexual difficulties such as poor ejaculation and decreased libido.

Scientists have questions about why some individuals continue to develop COVID for so long, and others do not. A small study may provide some clues.

search, Posted in Clinical Infectious Diseases In September 2022, Plasma samples from 63 COVID-19 patients were evaluated. Scientists saw the spike protein in most blood samples collected from individuals who had suffered from COVID for a prolonged period of up to one year after infection.

Despite the development of research, Valentine says the new study could lead to promising new developments.

“If this proves true, new antivirals could be developed to target complete eradication of the virus, long-term treatment of COVID, or even prevention,” Valentine says.

In a Reuters analysis, researchers analyzed more than 1.3 million adults with COVID and 19,000 long-term COVID patients, suggesting that individuals with long-term COVID were twice as likely to receive a prescription antidepressant than patients who did not have the condition. .

“During recovery, patients may feel frustrated with their inability to perform cognitive functions, or the inability to return to work responsibilities and recreational activities prior to COVID,” says Dr. Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center after the COVID-19 recovery program. “This can lead to deeper depression and even suicidal thoughts.”

Scientists do not yet understand whether or not people who have been infected with Covid for a long time are at greater risk of suicide, but Sadana believes it is important to continue to explore this possibility – it has life-saving implications.

“These patients are often the most vulnerable and should be recognized early, and directed toward psychotherapy, including consideration of psychoactive medications,” Sadana says.

Sadana says recovery can take weeks, and in rare cases, symptoms can last up to a year.

one study He put this percentage at 15.1%. This paper is currently in preprint and has not been peer reviewed.

Valentine says treatment options vary based on the person, but some include:

  • Care from a respiratory therapist
  • Beta blockers to speed up the heartbeat
  • Fludrocortisone for blood pressure issues
  • mental health treatment

Sadana says that some hospitals offer support groups and special centers for individuals with prolonged COVID symptoms. Your health care provider can help you find one.