Thursday, 21 Sep 2023

‘I’m a professor in respiratory physiology and here’s what I know about Covid’

Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children

Symptoms of long Covid can range from aches and pains in the limbs to brain fog and insomnia.

There are “over 200 documented symptoms of long Covid”, which can vary in frequency and intensity.

“An infection with SARS-Cov-2 [Covid] attacks and affects, impairs and, in some cases, can damage the regular function of bodily systems,” said Dr Faghy.

“These include the immune system, neural, muscular systems and function of the endothelial cells.”

Dr Faghy added: “The persistent nature of long Covid has also been linked to viral persistence where the virus is not cleared but remains in the body.”

READ MORE… Long Covid can ‘relapse with little warning’ expert says

Dr Faghy said: “The damage we are seeing to some organs and systems means it is likely that some people might not make it back to their pre-Covid status.”

While there are some patients who demonstrate improvement over time, thereby achieving their pre-Covid functional state, others are simply not getting better.

“Like any chronic health condition, healthy lifestyle behaviours reduce the risk and/or likelihood of developing long Covid,” said Dr Faghy.

“And a number of studies have shown that pre-existing health issues increase the likelihood of severe acute infection and progression to long Covid.”

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However, Dr Faghy pointed out a caveat in that a large proportion of people who were previously in good health still developed long Covid.

Dr Faghy said: “The evidence suggests that anybody can develop long Covid and the associated symptoms.”

How can you tell if it’s long Covid?

Dr Faghy answereed: “In the absence of a definitive tool to diagnose long Covid, people should look out for changes in their abilities to undertake and complete their routine tasks.

“If anyone is worried, they should speak to their GP.”

People suffering from long Covid may be able to be referred by their GP to a long Covid service, the NHS says.

The health body explains: “These services can help manage your symptoms and help you recover.”

The Covid Recovery programme is an online support service to help you cope with symptoms of long Covid.

Access is only available after a referral to the programme by a healthcare professional, who will provide you with a unique code for registration.

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