The year 2020 saw the world being held hostage by the Covid-19 virus and it continues with no hint of being subdued. As of date, 131,837,512 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,862,664 deaths, have been reported to WHO globally and it shows no signs of slowing down. Most people who have contracted Covid-19 recover completely within a couple of weeks. However, COVID-19 symptoms can sometimes linger for months. The virus can cause damage to the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health issues.
Senior citizens and people with comorbidities are at the highest risk to experience post-Covid-19 symptoms. The most common symptoms that persist over a long period include :
- Exhaustion and Fatigue
- Gasping or Shortness of breath
- Pain in the joints
- Chest pain
Other long-term indicators may include:
- Muscle pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Loss of smell or taste
- Memory loss
- Lack of concentration
- Sleep problems
- Hair loss
Studies show that Covid-19 is a virus that primarily attacks the lungs. However, it has been noticed that it causes considerable damage to other organs like the heart and brain as well.
Lungs - Covid-19 can cause long-lasting damage to the alveoli in the lungs which can lead to continued breathing problems.
Heart - Even people who have suffered from a mild attack of Covid-19 have reported permanent damage to the heart muscle. This has been confirmed by imaging tests taken long after recovery. The probability of heart complications or failure in the future increases tremendously.
Brain - Covid-19 is capable of causing strokes, seizures and temporary paralysis even in young patients. They are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the future.
Blood vessels - Covid-19 can lead to clumping of blood cells leading to the formation of clots. These tiny clots can block the capillaries in the heart muscle and cause long-lasting damage. Blood clots can also affect the lungs, liver, kidney and leg muscles.
Apart from the visible damages, Covid -19 can cause post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and anxiety. Simply surviving this ordeal may be a traumatic experience for many.
It is important to remember that although most people recover quickly from Covid-19, the long-lasting effects make it imperative that we should follow all precautions to reduce the spread of the disease.
Precautions to be observed
Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth properly and secure it under your chin so that it fits snugly. Make sure that you do not need to adjust the mask frequently. You should be able to breathe properly. Wearing a Mask is the best way to protect yourself and others.
Social Distancing -
Maintain 6 feet distance from people who don’t live with you. Since you have no idea who they have been in contact with, it is important to keep your distance from strangers.
Avoid close contact with those who are sick. Keep a distance of 6 feet from those who are infected.
Get yourself vaccinated for Covid-19 as soon as it becomes available for you. You will need to take 2 doses of the vaccine with a gap of 6-8 weeks in between. Vaccination is the recommended way to protect yourself against the virus. However, since the entire population has not been vaccinated you should continue to observe the Covid-19 protocol.
Avoid Crowded Place -
It is advisable to avoid crowded places and poorly ventilated spaces. Since the virus is highly contagious, we must stay indoors as far as possible and avoid social gatherings. You would do well to stop visiting theatres, malls, gyms, religious places etc.
Wash your hands often -
The importance of washing your hands often with soap and water cannot be overemphasized. You need to wash it for a minimum of 20 seconds after every few hours. If soap and water are not available you can use a sanitiser that contains 60% alcohol. Please remember not to use sanitisers while working in the kitchen.
Cover your coughs/sneezes-
You can cough or sneeze into your mask and change the mask as soon as possible. Use the inside of your elbow or use a tissue when you need to cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue immediately.
Clean and disinfect-
It is recommended to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily to avoid contamination.
Monitor your health daily -
Be aware of the symptoms and monitor your health daily. Get yourself tested if the symptoms persist beyond 24 hours.
Covid-19 is a rapidly spreading virus that requires our combined cooperative efforts to combat it. It is important to stay safe and strictly follow the Covid-19 protocol till it is eliminated.