COVID-19 Long Haulers: Should You be Worried?

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COVID-19 Long Haulers: Should You be Worried?
COVID-19 Long Haulers: Should You be Worried?

The entire world is currently highly concerned about contracting the novel coronavirus. What’s even more worrisome is the feedback from some of the patients who contracted coronavirus and cleared after treatment. They still seem to be suffering symptoms similar to those of the virus. 

‘Long haulers’, as they are commonly known, are patients who contracted the virus and got cured after treatment, but still experience symptoms of the disease or related to it. This situation expectedly increases anxiety associated with coronavirus, an already bad situation. Which begs the question to whom and why does this happen? 

Why Are There Long Haulers?

Coronavirus is a new infection, whose patterns are determined as time goes by, and patients receive treatment. As a novel virus, there isn’t much forewarning we get regarding its long term effects.

Just as well, some patients are still suffering residual symptoms, even post-treatment, and recovery is as astounding to scientists as it is to everybody else. However, some theories try to explain why this is happening even to healthy young patients.

According to the Health News Team, the problem is not the virus itself; it is the body’s immune system. As the body responds to the trigger of infection by the production of immune cells, sometimes it does this too aggressively. An aggressive immune response causes an effect on healthy body cells, causing further unnecessary damage. Weak cells die off, leaving the body more compromised than before. This theory seems feasible but is yet to be a consensus around the globe; however, this is an excellent start to solving the problem.

Who Are Long Haulers?

Long haulers are not a predictable population. No one can identify whether they are people who suffered mildly or severely from the virus because the symptoms randomly spread out within these groups. Researchers initially thought that only patients with critical illnesses and those who are immunocompromised or have comorbidities suffered symptoms that lasted longer than usual. They were wrong. 

A good number of people are sprouting and admitting to suffering a month, three months, and others five months after they healed from the infection. These people include men, women, and even children. Their large number has raised concerns and cause for an investigation of the progression of the disease. Presently, there are no known criteria for predicting who the long term symptoms might affect.

Next Steps For Long Haulers

All this information begs the question, what if you realize you become a long hauler? What are the recommended steps to take? Does this validate a hospital visit? The truth is, there isn’t much your physician can do at the moment. That’s not to say if you experience worsening symptoms that you shouldn’t visit the hospital, please do. The only solution left is to wait out the symptoms until they fade completely. The waiting may be a month or a few months, which is an inconvenience, but a slight one in the bigger scheme. Nobody wants to live with a disease that seems to have no end; however, patience is necessary.

Centre for Post COVID Care is one of the institutions that play a crucial role in rehabilitation post the disease. Among the services they offer are taking care of residual symptoms with physical therapy and other relevant services. Counseling is also essential during this time as the presence of disease weeks and months later takes a toll on mental health. 

Similar facilities have been developed in the US and are sprouting in other countries around the world. If you are within proximity to these facilities, consider making use of them. Do not suffer in silence. It helps to talk to others like you and professionals who are trained to deal with the issue.

Effects of Long Term Symptoms 

Long term symptoms would mean that life is not back to normal. Despite the absence of disease, there are residual effects. Some of these include the inability to go back to work, especially if the jobs are strenuous or require one to be on their feet all day. Consequently, unemployed people can’t afford insurance, creating further strain. Unfortunately, many people’s health insurance in the USA is linked to their jobs meaning loss of job cuts off this service. 

Other symptoms are fatigue-related, which means that they will spend their days sleeping or lying down for most of the day. Productivity is already strained as it is, a situation where even after disease, human labor is still a problem that won’t help revive the economy.

I cannot fail to mention the apparent damage to organs that happens and may become permanent. The longer the symptoms mean that possibly, the more damage is occurring to vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and kidneys. This situation will likely increase the number of patients on long term medication and other treatment modalities such as dialysis. 

Conclusion

We now know that long term symptoms are not a fallacy. It could happen to anyone, and it is helpful to prepare yourself for occurrence in case you contract the disease. It doesn’t help that scientists have not yet gotten to the root of why it happens, but one step at a time. However, it is not a death sentence; it is inconvenient but seems to have an endpoint. A solution will help improve personal lives, and the general public as each of these people plays a role in society. A bill is currently in motion to fund this aspect of the pandemic.

 

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