Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children
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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains there isn’t one single test to diagnose long Covid. It’s a condition that isn’t fully understood yet. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: “People with post Covid conditions can have a wide range of symptoms that can last more than four weeks or even months after infection. Sometimes the symptoms can even go away or come back again.”
It lists the following neurological symptoms:
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness)
- Pins and needles
- Change in smell or taste
- Depression or anxiety.
The BHF says: “Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing lasting long Covid symptoms. They may refer you for tests to help understand how long Covid is affecting you and how it can be treated. Or it may even be that there is another cause for your symptoms.”
The Mayo Clinic says common signs and symptoms that linger over time include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Joint pain
- Chest pain
- Muscle pain or headache
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Loss of smell or taste
- Depression or anxiety
- Dizziness when you stand
- Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities.
The NHS notes that how long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody, but many people feel better in a few days or weeks.
The health body explains that the chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19, as “people who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems”.
The Mayo Clinic says: “Although COVID-19 is seen as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can also damage many other organs, including the heart, kidneys and the brain.
“Organ damage may lead to health complications that linger after COVID-19 illness.”
It adds: “COVID-19 can make blood cells more likely to clump up and form clots. While large clots can cause heart attacks and strokes, much of the heart damage caused by COVID-19 is believed to stem from very small clots that block tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the heart muscle.”
The CDC explains: “Researchers are working to understand which people or groups of people are more likely to have post Covid conditions, and why.”
The NHS advice on long Covid says people who are recovering from an illness often report feeling a little better each day, and it can take time to fully recover.
It says: “With long Covid you may feel fatigued after activities which were not previously difficult to cope with and this can affect your quality of life and ability to function as you did previously. This is more likely to occur at the end of the day or at the end of a busy week.”
The NHS says if you have COVID-19, you can pass on the virus to other people for up to 10 days from when your infection starts. Many people will no longer be infectious to others after five days, it adds.
The NHS says in December 2020, NHS England announced the launch of post Covid clinics.
The health body says: “The clinics bring together a wide range of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer both physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs assessments.
“The Post Covid clinics aim to bring a more holistic diagnostic picture of Long Covid.”
The health body says if you have mental health symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, you may be referred to additional local services for specialist mental health assessment and support.
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