The vaccination drive for COVID-19 is taking place in full swing in several countries around the world including India, even as people of all age groups continue to test positive on a daily basis. While some patients recover from the coronavirus infection with proper medical treatment after two weeks i.e. 14 days when the viral vector weakens in the body, that is unfortunately not always the case. A section of afflicted individuals reports that discomforting symptoms of COVID-19 linger for several weeks or even months after therapy.
These COVID-19 survivors are referred to as “Long-Haulers” with the condition bearing many terminologies such as “Long COVID”, “Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome”, “Long-Haul COVID”, “Chronic COVID Syndrome”. Although Long COVID is not contagious, it still invariably hampers the day-to-day productivity of those affected and such people take a long time to regain their optimal health and stamina. Even though a year has passed since it began, the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging and it is thus essential to understand the underlying causes and characteristic symptoms of Long COVID.
So What Exactly Is Long COVID And Why Does It Occur?
Long COVID is an enduring illness that extends for a considerable amount of time beyond the initial phase of coronavirus infection. It fundamentally refers to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 but has not entirely regained good health even after professional medical treatment for two to four weeks. It is the same COVID-19 illness of the upper respiratory tract that is instigated by the SARS-CoV-2 strain of novel coronavirus, which spreads through air droplets from direct contact with an afflicted person. However, the precise time period that classifies an infected person to be suffering from Long COVID varies among doctors and patients, with most people declaring that the sickness prolonging for four weeks or more implies an instance of Long COVID.
The exact reason as to why this happens in a fraction of coronavirus patients is not yet known, with scientists, doctors and medical researchers presently investigating the possible causes of Long COVID. This ailment is not contagious, for the infected person has undergone proper medical treatment to eliminate the viral particles from the body. Long COVID is a phenomenon wherein the system’s response to the onset of coronavirus infection remains active for a long time beyond the initial stages of COVID-19, often accompanied by disabling indications.
What Are The Symptoms Of Long COVID?
The symptoms of Long COVID are the same as those experienced with COVID-19 infection in the primary stages. These include fever, sore throat, headaches, cold, anosmia i.e. loss of sense of smell, ageusia or inability to distinguish tastes.
Moreover, people undergoing Long COVID face several other signs of undue fatigue, joint and muscle pain, aching in the chest, breathing difficulty, well a decline in nervous system functions due to brain fog, anxiety, depression.
How Much Time Does It Take To Recuperate From Long COVID?
There is no way to determine for how many weeks or months Long COVID may go on in affected individuals. Nevertheless, many viral ailments such as influenza also trigger symptoms that prolong for extensive periods after completion of treatment and medications. The maximum period for which Long COVID may last in an infected person is 3 to 6 months, with mental fatigue, muscle weakness and exhaustion being the predominant symptoms in these cases.
It is important to keep in mind that Long COVID is not a life-threatening condition and hence there is no need to worry or panic unnecessarily. Doctors advise that though there is no need for hospitalization in the majority of instances, people with long COVID must continue to monitor their body temperature and blood oxygen levels every day. Furthermore, adhering to a wholesome balanced diet, regular physical activity and uninterrupted sleep routine helps people with long COVID recover completely, regain their optimal health and ensure enhanced wellbeing.