Despite the fact that the majority of individuals who have COVID-19 recover within a few weeks of being unwell, some people develop post-COVID problems. Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 may induce a wide variety of new, recurring, or continuing health issues, which can manifest themselves four or more weeks after the first infection with the virus that produces it. Even those who did not show signs of COVID-19 infection in the first few days or weeks after being infected might develop post-COVID complications. These disorders may manifest themselves as a variety of various sorts and combinations of health issues that last for varying durations of time. COVID-19 testing is also an important phase in the whole scenario.
These post-COVID problems are also referred to as protracted COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, long-term consequences of COVID, or chronic COVID, depending on the severity of the disorder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and experts from across the globe are striving to discover more about the short- and long-term health impacts of COVID-19, as well as who is at risk and why.
There are many different types of post-COVID conditions
Symptoms that are new or persistent
Some patients have a variety of new or persistent symptoms that may continue for many weeks or months after being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 for the first time. This sort of post-COVID ailment, in contrast to some of the other types of post-COVID problems, may affect anybody who has had COVID-19, regardless of how severe the sickness was or whether they had any symptoms at the time of infection. People often report having varied combinations of the symptoms listed below, which include:
- Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath are common.
- Feelings of exhaustion or tiredness
- Symptoms that worsen after engaging in physical or mental activity (also known as post-exertional malaise)
- Difficulty thinking or focusing (sometimes known as “brain fog”) is also a common symptom of depression.
- Pain in the chest or stomach
Multiorgan COVID-19 also has a variety of effects
Multiorgan effects or autoimmune disorders may develop in some patients who experienced a severe sickness due to COVID-19, and symptoms may linger for weeks or months after the illness. Multiorgan impacts may significantly impact many, if not all, of the body’s systems, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and brain. Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system mistakenly assaults healthy cells in your body, resulting in inflammation (swelling) and tissue damage in the areas of the body that are affected.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) may occur during or soon after a COVID-19 infection in certain individuals, primarily children. While this is very unusual, some people, mostly children, have experienced it. MIS is a disorder in which multiple regions of the body might become inflamed at the same time. If a person continues to have multiorgan effects or other symptoms as a result of MIS, they may develop post-COVID disorders.
A COVID-19 illness or hospitalization might have a variety of consequences.
The recovery time after hospitalizations and severe illnesses for lung-related disorders, such as COVID-19, may result in health repercussions such as significant weakness and weariness as a result of the sickness.
These side effects might include significant weakness, difficulty thinking and making decisions, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
After being admitted to the hospital, certain symptoms may resemble those experienced by patients who originally had moderate or no symptoms but later developed symptoms after being exposed to COVID-19 over a period of several weeks. In other cases, it may be challenging to determine whether they are caused by the hospitalization, the virus’s long-term consequences, or a mix of the two factors. Additionally, additional consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including mental health consequences from isolation, unfavorable economic circumstances, and a lack of access to healthcare for the management of underlying problems, may exacerbate these issues further. These variables have had an impact on both individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and those who have not been affected.
The Effect on Children and Adolescents
If you have had COVID-19, you may acquire a post-COVID condition later on in life, regardless of your age. Long-term effects following COVID-19 do occur in children and adolescents, despite the fact that they seem to be less prevalent in children and adolescents than in adults after the COVID-19 vaccination. Children with COVID-19, whether moderate or severe, have reported long-term symptoms, including children who had previously had multisystem inflammatory syndrome in childhood. The most frequent symptoms described have been weariness or exhaustion, headache, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), difficulty focusing, muscular and joint discomfort, and cough. These symptoms are similar to those experienced in adults with the condition. Unfortunately, young children may have difficulty identifying the difficulties they are facing, and there is little evidence available on post-COVID issues in children and adolescents.
Consider the following scenario: your kid has a post-COVID ailment that interferes with their ability to attend school, finish coursework, or engage in regular activities. Then it may be beneficial to talk with your child’s school about potential modifications, such as additional time on exams, planned rest breaks throughout the day, a modified class schedule, and so on. In addition, school administrators, school counselors, and school nurses can collaborate with families and healthcare professionals to provide learning accommodations for children who have suffered from post-COVID conditions, particularly those who are experiencing difficulty thinking, concentrating, or moving around physically. You may also request similar accommodations for activities that take place outside of school, such as daycare, tutoring, sports, scouting, and other extracurricular activities, among others.