Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus
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The NHS explains “long COVID” is an informal term that is commonly used to describe signs and symptoms that continue or develop after an acute infection of COVID. It says for some people, symptoms can persist for longer than 12 weeks and may change over time and new symptoms may develop.
Most infections with COVID resolve within the first four weeks and there are a number of potential neurological symptoms.
These symptoms include cognitive impairment, known as brain fog, as well as loss of concentration or memory issues.
Other signs include a headache, sleep disturbance, pins and needles or numbness, dizziness and potentially delirium in older people.
There are also a number of other signs, though symptoms of long Covid can be many and varied and can change over time.
The NHS says other signs can be respiratory or cardiovascular , such as breathlessness, a cough, chest tightness, chest pain and palpitations.
Other potential symptoms include fatigue, fever and pain. Some people also experience tinnitus, earache, a sore throat, loss of taste and smell.
Skin rashes may also occur, as can joint pain, muscle pain, abdominal pain, nausea. Diarrhoea, reduced appetite in older people and weight loss.
The NHS says: “ The length of your recovery is not necessarily related to the severity of your initial illness or whether you were in hospital. If new or ongoing symptoms do occur and they are causing you concern, you should always seek medical advice and support.”
Many people will be aware of the common signs of coronavirus, such as a cough or fever, but Omicron also has the potential to present a number of other signs.
The NHS still lists the main symptoms of coronavirus as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
The Mayo Clinic says: “Older people and people with many serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience lingering COVID-19 symptoms, but even young, otherwise healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection.”
The organisation notes that much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time, “but research is ongoing”.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says that there is no singular test for long Covid.
The BHF says: “Make an appointment to see your doctor if you are experiencing lasting symptoms after Covid.
“They may refer you for tests such as blood tests and other tests, which could help to show how long Covid is affecting you and how it could be treated, or it may even be that there is another cause for your symptoms.”
The charity notes: “Chest pain is a common symptom of COVID-19. Some people are experiencing chest pain that lasts beyond their initial COVID-19 infection, or that starts in the weeks after they’ve had the virus.”
It adds: “It’s important to remember that even if you have had COVID-19 and are now experiencing chest pain, it may not be related to the virus.”
Indeed, the charity says if you experience any new type of chest pain, it’s important to get medical advice, as chest pain can be a sign of something more serious, like a heart or lung problem.
It notes that a study by Imperial College London also found that long Covid tended to increase with age and was more likely to affect women.
The BHF adds: “There is some evidence that getting the vaccine could reduce long Covid in people who caught the virus before they were vaccinated.”
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