HomeStandard PeopleCovid-19 effects may stretch for months

Covid-19 effects may stretch for months

Health Talk: By Dr Johannes Marisa

Covid-19 continues to confuse the entire world with accusations and counter accusations, some blaming another country for the outbreaks and incessant viral mutations.

Measures have been put in place to mitigate against the spread of the heinous virus that has now claimed close to 4,7 million people.

Some of the survivors are still suffering from multiple problems even two months after the first Covid-19 test. More research is required to find out more about this virus.

Today, Africa is witnessing a general subsiding of Covid-19 cases although countries like Morocco, Tunisia,  South Africa are still recording daily cases of more than 1 000.

The United States is groaning again with the Delta variant, sweeping through the country and taking daily deaths to above 1 800.

This is really a sad situation that surely threatens the existence of humanity. The attack waves are like a wheel that will be rotating and it is almost definite that we will face the fourth wave towards the end of the year.

This therefore calls for enhanced vaccination campaigns in order to try to archieve herd immunity.

Zimbabwe mainly makes use of the Chinese-made Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines and there haven’t been serious reactions from them yet.

Those with cormobidities should realise that they ought to control their conditions first before they receive the jab.

Make sure your blood pressure is well controlled so get it checked first, make sure your sugars are well within range so that you do not complicate yourself.

Get your jab and protect yourself from attacks as there is incessant threat from this diabolical virus.

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 everyone to be an advocate for vaccination using all platforms to spread the message of inoculation. 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.

There are many Covid-19 survivors who haven’t reported back to their work stations because of numerous symptoms, which are still prevalent on them.

Yes, thats a reality with Covid-19 and patients can present with a condition called  long Covid-19. This is 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 is 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 6 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. Report complications to your clinician as soon as you detect them.

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!

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