Coronavirus Pandemic

Long haul Covid: Some UAE patients suffer symptoms for months

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on March 1, 2021 | Last updated on March 1, 2021 at 06.18 pm
Photo: AFP

One of the manifestations of even milder Covid infections can include persistent pain, splitting headaches and chest pain.

A growing number of people in the UAE are reporting lingering symptoms after overcoming their initial bout with Covid-19.

'Long-haul Covid' refers to a condition where a person doesn’t feel fully recovered from their illness even after several months, despite the infection resolving.

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As per the journal of the American Medical Association, 10 per cent of Covid-19 patients become long haulers.

One of the manifestations of even milder Covid-19 infections can include persistent pain, including aching joints or muscles, splitting headaches and chest pain.

Dr Priya Bharat Mahile, specialist internal medicine, Prime Medical Centre, Jumeirah branch, said: “Many patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 suffer symptoms months after they clear their life-threatening infection. There seems to be no consistent reason for this to happen. One theory states that some small amount of virus remains in some form. Another theory points out immune system continues to overreact even though infection has passed. Some researchers state the post-viral syndrome results due to inflammation or other damage that occurs as immune system fights off an infection.”

There are a lot of emerging and serious long-term consequences of Covid-19 that relate back to the illness but could be separate and distinct.

Medics highlight some research indicates that such incidences increase with age.

It is more common in an older age group or patients who were hospitalised or were kept in intensive care, during the course of their treatment.

Dr Rajesh Kumar Gupta, specialist internal medicine, Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah, pointed out: “Some people who develop lung fibrosis and similar kind of complications might require oxygen support even after turning negative for Covid-19. It has also been found that some people experience weakness in the muscles of lower limbs and would require wheelchair for mobility.”

He added: “Covid-19 affects different people differently. Though most of them are likely to manifest mild or moderate symptoms and recover early, some would take a longer time. Others might recover quickly but will continue to manifest symptoms.”

The phenomenon is also called 'long Covid-19' or 'post-Covid-19 syndrome'.”

The most common symptoms manifested by patients who have recovered from Covid-19 are fatigue, body pain, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, headache and fever.

Dr Shyam Rajamohan, specialist internal medicine, Prime Hospital, underlined: “Patients who experience symptoms for weeks and months after a Covid-19 infection are called long haulers. The real cause of this remains unknown and studies are ongoing. One of the theories is that the patients’ immune system continues to overreact even after the virus has passed from the body - leading to long hauler symptoms. These symptoms do not need isolation and treatment is symptomatic.”

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