Hyderabad: With the number of new infections coming down in the last few days, the Covid-19 pandemic is showing signs of receding gradually. However, in its wake, the second Covid-19 wave has left a large pool of recovered patients in Telangana who will have to live with long-term effects of the disease and may need care.
The recovery from the acute Covid infection is not a guarantee for complete cure, a fact that even the health authorities have acknowledged. To provide long-term healthcare support to such patients, the Health Department in the coming weeks will set up special OPs and run exclusive counters at government hospitals for patients who came out of the acute illness and suffer from long-term health complications.
While there are no definitive Indian population-based studies, researchers estimate that at least one in 10 people infected by SARS-CoV-2 will go on to develop symptoms that will last for more than 12 weeks, even after recovery. The factors that could lead to long-term health complications among Covid recovered patients include excessive use of medications like steroids, antibiotics as being witnessed in the form of Mucormycosis infections.
Understanding how and when symptoms develop after recovery from Covid is not straightforward. Commenting on this in a paper titled ‘In it for the long haul on lasting health effects of Covid-19’, former Director of CDC, US, Dr Tom Frieden said “In some cases, new symptoms arise after acute illness has resolved or as other symptoms dissipate. The variable timelines and short duration of many studies has limited our understanding of post-acute health problems among recovered patients”.
In the paper, Dr Frieden and team said that symptoms affecting nearly every part of the body have been reported. A preprint review and meta-analysis of 15 existing studies in the UK among 47,910 individuals identified 55 long-term effects that are potentially associated with Covid-19.
“The five most commonly reported symptoms were fatigue (58%), headache (44%), difficulty concentrating (27%), hair loss (25%), and shortness of breath (24%). Reported symptoms are not just physical. In a study of more than 2,30,000 Covid-19 survivors, 13 per cent received a new neurologic or psychiatric diagnosis within the first six months after diagnosis,” Dr Frieden in his article, which is available in prevent epidemic.org, said.
Post-Covid complications can also lead to syndromes, which is a collection of symptoms that tend to occur together. The noted syndrome after recovering from Covid is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in children, which has been reported in few children in Maharashtra. People with MIS-C are under 21 years of age and have multiple organs affected and require hospitalisation, while some are critically ill. There is now recognition of a similar syndrome among adults, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults, or MIS-A. The incidence of both MIS-C and MIS-A are thought to be low, Dr Frieden and his team said.
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