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    Published On : Thu, Dec 31st, 2020

    What is Post COVID-19 Syndrome? – Dr Sameer Arbat

    As we enter 2021, most of us have family members or friends who have been infected with COVID-19. Many people who have suffered from COVID-19 have complete recovery after completion of treatment. But there are increasing number of people who continue to experience symptoms after initial recovery. These are the patients who are labelled as Post COVID-19 Syndrome.

    It’s not just the severe cases, even people who have had mild version of COVID-19 can experience Post COVID-19 Syndrome. Elderly people and people with underlying serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience Post COVID-19 symptoms, but even young, otherwise healthy people can suffer similar complaints.

    You might experience the following symptoms if you have been infected with COVID-19 in the past –
    1. Fatigue or Body ache – Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 often complain of fatigue, backache, body ache which might last for few weeks to months.
    2. Shortness of Breath is another common complaint after recovery from COVID-19 disease. If this complaint persists for a long time you may need to perform a “Pulmonary Function Test or Spirometry” to assess any long-term effect on your breathing capacity.
    3. Chronic cough usually lasting for 2-3 weeks is common for most viral infections and subsides with time unless you have history of allergy or acid reflux disease.
    4. Chest Pain or palpitations may be experienced in Post COVID-19 syndrome and may require a thorough check up to rule out any cardiac complications.
    5. Skin rash or hair loss – many centres around the world have documented cases of rashes and hair loss amongst patients of COVID-19 after partial or complete recovery.
    6. Sleep disturbance – The clinical course of COVID-19 along with sociological factors such as isolation, fear and stigma of the disease can lead to disturbed sleep and insomnia.
    7. Psychiatric symptoms – People who have severe symptoms of COVID-19 often have to be treated in a hospital’s intensive care unit. Simply surviving this experience can make a person more likely to later develop post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and anxiety.
    8. Serious Conditions of Heart can be encountered due to lasting damage to the heart muscle. This may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.
    9. Serious Conditions of Lungs include long standing damage to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems.
    10. Serious Conditions of Brain may include strokes, seizures and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis. COVID-19 may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
    11. Serious Conditions of Blood Vessels – COVID-19 can make blood cells more likely to clump up and form clots or ins some cases, weaken blood vessels and cause them to leak. Both these conditions can lead to heart attacks and strokes or serious damage to lungs, legs, liver and kidneys.
    12. Much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time and many health centres are running specialised Post-COVID 19 Clinics for patients who have persistent symptoms or related illnesses after they recover from COVID-19.

    It’s important to remember that most people who have COVID-19recover quickly. But the potentially long-lasting problems from COVID-19 may pose serious threat to your health. It is advisable to get your regular health check-up done to detect any complications. COVID 19 may stay around for a better part of 2021 and hence it is even more important to reduce the spread of the disease by following precautions such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds and keeping hands clean.

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