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This is all that is known, so far, about prolonged COVID-19

In the history of medicine, it happens that from time to time a condition or disease appears, which is resisted –in its acceptance– by medical science. For example, patients with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome suffer greatly from the impossibility of obtaining a medical examination for their illnesses.

A similar situation is currently being experienced by millions of people who have suffered from mild, moderate or severe cases of COVID-19 and who have been left with persistent symptoms of various kinds that, unfortunately, are not recognized by health professionals.

more than pneumonia

Let us remember how, at the beginning of the pandemic, the images we had of the COVID-19 they were from an acute illness causing severe cases of respiratory complications. So deep did that perception become, that the disease was initially baptized as “Wuhan pneumonia”. It was only at the end of the first year that it began to be recognized that the new coronavirus was capable of attacking other organs, in addition to the lungs.

Little by little, the medical literature was filled with studies showing that in the COVID-19 In severe cases, other organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys, pancreas, and skin could be affected, and it began to be observed that patients who were discharged from the hospital or ICU did not fully recover and were left with sequelae, which they were thought to be consequences of the severity of their infections.

“Most symptoms of prolonged COVID-19 are subjective.”

persistent symptoms

During the second half of 2020, and throughout 2021, doctors around the world began to receive patients who, after having experienced an episode of COVID-19 mild or moderate illness that did not require hospitalization, complained of various types of persistent symptoms.

For lack of another name, these cases were baptized as ‘long Covid’ or ‘prolonged COVID-19’ but the problem was that a bitter controversy began between patients and part of the medical establishment.

The controversy –between patients and medical establishments– arose because most of the symptoms of COVID-19 are subjective and include, but are not limited to, headache, sore throat, airway congestion, difficulty concentrating, frequent forgetfulness, constant fatigue, and tiredness after light exertion. Being subjective, those symptoms were difficult or impossible to prove with the auxiliary tests of current medicine.

This impossibility of proving the objectivity of the symptoms made patients suffer a lot looking for doctors who believed that their symptoms were real and not imaginary. This is because thinking that COVID-19 was a disease that -like the flu- should disappear completely, many doctors thought that the symptoms of their patients were emotional, a consequence of chronic anxiety and depression caused by the pandemic.

Activism

It was recently, thanks to the activism and organizational capacity of the patients themselves, that in April 2020, a group of patients without further scientific training from the organization Body Politicconducted a survey through the internet and managed, for the first time, to collect data from 640 people affected by persistent post-mortem symptoms. COVID-19.

“The ideal is not to get infected so as not to have COVID-19 and persistent COVID-19.”

The study, published online on May 11 of 2020, was the first to determine the 10 most common symptoms of prolonged COVID-19. These included, from major to minor, mild shortness of breath, mild chest tightness, mild to moderate fatigue, chills or sweats, mild body aches, dry cough, mild fever (37.1º – 37.7º C), sore throat, mild headache and brain fog or trouble concentrating.

Subsequently, on April 1, 2021, the UK Office for National Statistics published a very important study on the subject, shocking the world when he concluded that more than a million British citizens were suffering from lingering symptoms after spending COVID-19.

The report noted that 674,000 people were so affected that it was impossible for them to carry out their daily activities. The most affected were people between 35 and 69 years old, women, and residents of the poorest areas of the country.

Most likely as a consequence of the wide dissemination of these studies in the media, it is that in September 2020, Dr Francis Collinsdirector of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), recognized the work of the volunteers of the Body Politic collective and that, in february 2021that institute launched a national initiative to study the persistent COVID-19with a budget item of US$1.15 billion.

The fact is that millions of people with persistent COVID-19 are seeking care in crowded hospital surgeries, adding to the burden of chronic disease cases that have been dammed up in the pandemic. This situation will undoubtedly cause enormous pressure on health systems.

protective vaccines

In this scenario, it is important to know that recent studies show that vaccination can protect a person from developing symptoms of persistent COVID-19.

A israeli study showed that people with two or three doses of vaccines were 50% to 80% less likely to have seven of the ten most common symptoms, such as shortness of breath, headache, weakness and muscle pain.

Meanwhile, a american studio concluded that patients, with at least one dose of vaccine, were between seven and ten times less likely to report two or more prolonged symptoms of COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated.

Corollary

Undoubtedly, the ideal is not to get infected so as not to have COVID-19 and persistent COVID-19. However, it is very important to know that – in case of infection – an additional benefit of vaccination is to reduce the possibility of developing persistent COVID-19.

Source: Elcomercio

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