HomeOpinion & AnalysisBeware of serious, post-Covid-19 syndrome!

Beware of serious, post-Covid-19 syndrome!

By Dr Johannes Marisa

Covid-19 is still wreaking havoc globally with many deaths still taking place in the world on a daily basis.

Officially, at least 4,62 million people have already lost their lives and considering poor data collection in poor countries, there is high probability that the number can double to nearly nine million people.

Many home deaths are not recorded in a number of countries.

The United States has returned to the May 2021 situation where daily deaths were above 1 700, which saw mortality of even 4 000 on some days.

The country had relaxed almost all restrictions with masks being thrown away two months ago.

Zimbabwe has officially lost about 4 500 people while Africa has recorded about 202 000 deaths. There is, however, poor data collation.

It is surprising that there are some people who are celebrating judgement against government’s decision to allow only vaccinated congregants.

The sad news is that Covid-19 strikes you as an individual with your copy of judgement in your hand.

It is very wise to be vaccinated and failure to follow such public health measures would only mean perpetuation of this diabolical virus with resultant more sickness and deaths.

We expect churches to be very big advocates for vaccination using all platforms to spread the message of inoculation.

The same people cry the most when they become sick with all sorts of complaints.

They cry about the cost of treatment in private clinics and hospitals yet government tries by all means to reduce complications of Covid-19 by encouraging immunization.

Covid-19 is really expensive to treat, the cost of drugs and oxygen is beyond the reach of many.

Vaccination is being given for free, hence this is the only advanced way of combating the further spread of this calamitous virus.

Today, I want people to know that Covid-19 can present with what is termed long Covid-19, a condition where symptoms can go beyond one month.

The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain. Most people who suffer from Covid-19 recover completely within a few weeks.

However, there are some patients, even those who had mild versions of the disease, who continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery.

These people are described as long haulers and their condition has been called post-Covid-19 syndrome or long Covid-19.

This is a condition to worry about as some patients can continue to feel unwell weeks or months after initial infection.

Common signs and symptoms that linger over time include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breadth
  • Cough
  • Joint pains especially the ankles and knees
  • Chest pains
  • Memory, concentration and sleep problems
  • Fast and pounding heart
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Intermittent fever
  • Dizziness when you stand
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities

There is systemic damage that can occur to the body and it should be noted that there are many patients who actually die many weeks after the initial infection.

The following are some of the conditions to be worried about and you need to be worried about them.

Thromboembolism: The formation of clots in the system is one cause for concern and can result in blocking of many blood vessels with culprits being the pulmonary circulation.

Pulmonary embolism is a very stubborn condition that continues to take many lives so people have to take note of this.

Other parts affected by blood clots include the liver, legs, kidneys and the virus weakens blood vessels and cause them to leak, which contributes to potentially long-lasting problems with the liver and kidneys.

Some people may need anti-coagulation for some time which may extend beyond three months. Please visit your doctors for continuous management.

Lungs: The type of pneumonia often associated with Covid-19 can cause long-standing damage to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs.

The resultant scar tissue can lead to  long-term breathing problems and many of these affected patients will be fatigued easily with difficult to tolerate activities.

People have to understand that vigorous activities may not be possible for some time and we have seen patients who have gone for more than six months with fatigability, shortness of breath or cough. Take it easy, that’s long Covid-19.

Heart: Imaging tests that have been taken months after recovery from Covid-19 having shown lasting damage to the heart muscle, even in people who only experienced mild Covid-19 symptoms. This may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.

Brain: Even in young people, Covid-19 can cause strokes, seizures and Gullein-Barre syndrome, a condition that causes temporary paralysis.

Multi-system inflammatory syndrome: Some adults and children develop this condition where some organs and tissues become severely inflamed.

We should all realise that many other Covid-19 complications are still unknown and some will develop on the way.

More research is still to be done and more findings are to be found sooner than later.

Keep yourself safe from Covid-19. Watch for post-Covid-19 complications even months after you tested positive.

Avoid contracting Covid-19 and on top of that get your Covid-19 jab as fast as possible.

Your health is determined by yourself and not by anyone else!

  • Dr Johannes Marisa is a medical practitioner and public health practitioner who can be accessed on doctormarisa@gmail.com

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