A doctor explains: What is ‘long COVID syndrome’?

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The COVID-19 infection is once again wreaking havoc in the country, with cases surging every day and things looking grim at the moment. Amid all this, doctors have started to highlight something called the ‘long COVID syndrome’, which is said to have a debilitating impact on patients’ lives.

According to Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi – A Fortis Network Hospital, while there is “no textbook definition of ‘long COVID’, patients who experience post-COVID symptoms lasting over six months are known to be suffering from this condition”.

“These patients are not just those who have had lengthy stays in the intensive care unit, but also those who have had mild symptoms and may or may not have needed hospitalisation,” says the doctor.

Common symptoms of ‘long COVID’:

Symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness on least amount of exertion, persistent cough, muscular and joint pain, drop/inaccuracy in hearing and sight, persistent loss of smell and taste.

“Many patients are also noted to have mental health problems, including anxiety and depression,” notes the doctor.

Dr Ingale states the National Health Service has put together a guide to help patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 understand and brace for post-COVID complications.

1. Pace: Take your own time to get back to normal life after making recovery. Do not force your body or yourself to get back to normal work schedules immediately.  While you plan your daily chores, also factor in small breaks – rest between two tasks.

2. Plan: Spread our chores across the week. You could also look at re-arranging your home in a way that your everyday use items are close and easily accessible.

3. Prioritise: Split your to-do list into chores you can do yourself and those you need help with, which means running outdoor errands or caring for a pet, or kids and elderly family members, etc. It would be ideal to delegate your outdoor work to another family member, if possible.

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