These are the key post-Covid symptoms experienced and here is what to make of it
- Around 1 in 10 people suffer at least one moderate-to-severe symptom after the virus has left the body, and recovery may take a few months.
- These symptoms are not limited to those with mild infections, or those with comorbidities or the old, the young and healthy, too, are experiencing post-Covid symptom
- A mild fever of around 99-99.6°F may last a few weeks. No medication is required. Occasionally, one can take an antipyretic like paracetamol to get relief.
AdvertisementThe deluge brought forth by the pandemic just doesn't seem to quit, and those who have managed to sail through the main part are greeted by a host of ailments even at the other side -- some even lasting months after the initial infection. And these symptoms are not limited to those with mild infections, or those with comorbidities or the old, the young and healthy, too, are experiencing post-Covid symptoms. In fact, around 1 in 10 people suffer at least one moderate-to-severe symptom after the virus has left the body, and recovery may take a few months.
Dr Vipin Vashishtha — former convener, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) Committee on Immunisation, and paediatrician at Mangla Hospital and Research Centre in Uttar Pradesh — highlights some of the common symptoms that linger even after recovery.
|Common short-term symptoms||Common long-term symptoms||Symptoms to watch out for and need medical intervention|
|Loss of smell -- Loss of taste -- Shortness of breath -- Fatigue||Low-grade fever and malaise -- Muscle/joint painCough - Sleeping disorder with insomnia -- Palpitations -- Gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, constipation, and dyspepsia -- Concentration impairment -- Memory impairment -- Headache -- Neuro-psychiatric/Psychological symptoms||Sudden onset of breathlessness, especially at rest -- Chest pain -- Sudden onset of increased heart rate while walking -- Weakness of limbs or one half of body|
Mild symptoms that will eventually give way without intervention:
- Loss of smell (Anosmia)
- Loss of taste (Ageusia)
- Shortness of breath (Dyspnea)
Other common symptoms that may last for few weeks to months:
- Low-grade fever and malaise: Mild fever of around 99-99.6°F may last a few weeks. No medication is required. Occasionally, one can take an antipyretic like paracetamol to get relief. However, if the patient experiences spikes with chills, they should consult a doctor to rule out any secondary infection.
- Muscle/joint pain: Usually lasts for 2-4 weeks, but in few instances may persist for a few months. A good nutritious diet along with plenty of fluids, juices, vitamins, etc., may help.
- Post-covid Cough: Usually last for 2-3 weeks may last up to 2-3 months. One may take a cough suppressant — mucolytics, expectorant, bronchodilators like inhalers, among others — depending upon the type of cough.
- Sleeping disorder with insomnia: Yoga, pranayama, mild exercise may be needed.
- Palpitations (racing heart): No specific treatment required. Avoid excessive, strenuous workouts.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, constipation, and dyspepsia: Symptomatic treatment like oral rehydration solution (ORS), fluids, soft diet, laxatives, etc., may be needed.
- Concentration impairment: May resolve spontaneously.
- Memory impairment: A good diet, mild exercise, and sleep hygiene may help.
- Headache: Can be relieved by antipyretics-anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Neuro-psychiatric/psychological symptoms: Rarely need any specific medication.
The following signs should be looked into and are dangerous. One should not take them lightly, and immediate referral is required.
- The sudden onset of breathlessness, especially at rest: This may be a signal of pulmonary embolism, a severe condition due to clot formation.
Other signs and symptoms to watch out for are
- Leg pain or swelling, or both, usually in the calf, caused by a deep vein thrombosis.
- Clammy or discoloured skin (cyanosis).
2. Chest pain: May be a sign of heart attack, i.e. myocardial infarction, again due to a thrombus formation. This is also seen in pulmonary embolism.
Even recovered COVID-19 patients who haven't had any pre-existing heart conditions are experiencing discomfort, fullness and cardiac complications. Instances of myocardial complications are one of the most common post-COVID issues patients are experiencing.
3. Sudden onset of tachycardia (faster heart rate) while walking: May be a sign of pulmonary embolism
4. Weakness of limbs or one half of the body: May denote cerebral stroke or thromboembolism.
Some other major complications include the following:
- Lung fibrosis: SARS-COV-2 virus mainly attacks your lungs that may cause scarring of the respiratory organs, leading to a condition called fibrosis. Because the virus is essentially a respiratory infection, it can start to 'clot' parts of your respiratory system, leading to breathing difficulties. Given that the organs take time to heal, patients experience bouts of breathlessness, fatigue, low oxygen saturation long after testing negative.
- Renal damage: Studies have shown that in severe Coronavirus cases, the kidneys may be damaged, the effects of which last a long time. This is also happening to those who had no kidney-related issues. In some cases, patients have to undergo dialysis. This is primarily being seen in patients who have pre-existing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Cognitive decline and brain fog: Brain fog, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a decreased quality of life are other symptoms experienced by severe cases, post-recovery. These issues should not be taken lightly and must be addressed as they could affect your recovery period. Some patients also experience memory loss, confusion, forgetfulness, likening them to dementia-like signs.
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