Though we've practically learned everything we could about COVID-19, it seems that new knowledge of the disease springs up every day. From vaccines to new variants, there's a lot more to COVID for us to know. Coronavirus symptoms may pass but for some people, the symptoms can extend for more than 12 weeks.
Unbeknownst to many is the existence of Long COVID. In the most literal sense of the word, long COVID is an extended manifestation of the COVID-19 symptoms beyond the typical duration. Long COVID can impact one’s daily life, affecting them during periods of exercise.
Read below to learn more about long COVID and the steps one can take to strengthen their immune system during this pandemic.
I. What is Long COVID?
Like the name suggests, long COVID is defined as an extended stay or lingering of COVID-19 symptoms beyond the initial illness. The NICE or National Institute for Health and Care Excellence states that long COVID lasts for up to 12 weeks or more. According to the World Health Organization, long COVID is conditions occur in individuals with a history of probable SARS COV-2 infection, 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for 2 months and cannot be explained by a diagnosis.
An Imperial London College study states that there were two categories of ongoing illness, namely a smaller group with mostly respiratory symptoms and a larger group that had more general symptoms such as tiredness.
II. What are the symptoms of Long COVID
Most people expect COVID-19 to be over after its reported recovery time of 2 weeks but some have symptoms that linger far longer than expected. The reported symptoms are pretty familiar ones including:
Shortness of breath
Chest pain or tightness
Brain fog or memory/thought problems
Since most long COVID symptoms attack the respiratory system, it is expected that the patient feels tired when subjected to movement. According to a report in the New York Times, a patient who was 18 months into COVID-19 was advised to perform physical exercise which only exacerbated her condition, stating that her heart rate has “skyrocketed” and that she was “so tired she couldn’t concentrate.
III. What are the Complications of COVID-19
Long COVID is described as lingering symptoms of COVID-19 way past its usual recovery time. COVID-19, however, has certain complications in other parts of the body, namely the lungs. Apart from this, the virus can also damage the heart, kidneys, and brain. Lasting effects of COVID-19 include long-term breathing problems, heart complications, kidney impairment, and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Guillain-Barre Syndrome is an auto-immune disorder where the person’s own immune system damages the nerves. This nerve damage results in muscle weakness and paralysis and while some recover, many are left with permanent nerve damage.
IV. Steps to take against COVID-19
While we are heavily familiar with the health protocols and the constant reiteration of vaccine importance, there are other steps we can take in order to safeguard our immunity this pandemic and somehow lessen our susceptibility.
Build Your Immunity- Build your immunity through nutrition by going through a selection of nutrient-rich foods that are great for supporting your immunity this pandemic.
Hygiene Habit- We often think of the words ‘hygiene’ and ‘COVID-19’ as merely washing and sanitizing your hands, or even perhaps wearing gloves in public. Good hygiene habits include covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing even without a mask at home; taking showers upon arriving home; sanitizing surfaces and products bought outside; and disposing of used clothes in the laundry.
Stay Hydrated- Consume 8-10 glasses of water daily to flush out the toxins and lower your chances of getting the flu or any other illness.
Don’t Skip Sleep!- No matter how busy or stressful life gets, aim for 8 hours of sleep daily. Sleep not only strengthens the immune system and helps renew and repair the body’s cells, but sleep is also linked to good mental health.
It’s been two years and COVID-19 is still very much here. However, not all has to end in despair. Educating ourselves about long COVID, its symptoms and complications helps us make better decisions and take better steps towards restoring our health.