How do you know if you have Covid for a long time and what to do about it

In the last two years, the number of new Covid cases and deaths has increased, while the number of variants and subvariants has decreased. One constant, experts: the steady increase in long-term Covid cases.

The term “long-term Covid” refers to a wide range of new, ongoing, or relapsing health conditions that can affect people for weeks or months after recovery from a Covid infection. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, dizziness, stomach pain, and changes in the sense of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“There is definitely no need to slow down the demand and take care of Covid for a long time. It’s increasing,” the doctor said. Jason Malay, director of the long-running Covid Clinic at Beth Israel’s Diconess Medical Center in Boston, is part of a multicenter study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

According to the U.S. Government Responsibility Office, Long Covid affected 23 million Americans as of March. Part of the problem is that its symptoms can vary from person to person, making it difficult for experts to understand and difficult for doctors to diagnose.

“The medical community still lacks a lot of knowledge and a long acquaintance with Covid,” Malay said.

To help you get through those unknowns, CNBC Make It has long discussed with Covid experts what to look for, whether you’re in danger, and what tools can help:

How do you know you have Covid for a long time?

If you pass a positive test for Covid, says Mailey, consider registering on your own a month after your recovery. “Pay attention to general symptoms such as changes [your] meditation, relaxation and [your] Ability to perform effectively at work or at home, ”he said.

Some of Covid’s long-term symptoms may not seem to be related to the condition at first. Take fatigue, for example: According to Meli, a delayed episode of fatigue, even a few days after strenuous exercise, can be a sign of prolonged Covid.

“You may not feel tired when you’re active right now, but in a few hours, or even a day or two, you’ll be very tired,” he says.

According to the CDC, people with “aggravation of Covid-19 disease” and “pre-Covid-19 health conditions” may be at higher risk of developing long-term Covid symptoms. Thus, this self-examination may be particularly important for those hospitalized with Covid or in need of intensive therapy for recovery.

But everyone needs to be vigilant: a study published in the scientific journal Patogens in November 2021 found that a small proportion of people with long-term Covid were asymptomatic and did not know they had Covid in the first place.

What should you do if you have Covid for a long time?

Everyone’s long experience with Covid is a little different, says the doctor. Thomas Guth, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, State University Hospital, and Director of Outpatient Care. According to him, the symptoms can last from three to six months. Other studies have shown that symptoms can last for at least a year.

There is currently no comprehensive treatment for long-term Covid patients, but experts say several strategies at home may be helpful. For example, if you feel very tired after recovering from Covid, identify the actions that led to your extreme fatigue and try to avoid them for a while.

“It’s called tempo,” Malay explains.

The pace also includes adjustments to your daily schedule that include rest periods set for your mind and body to prevent “severe” crashes. Preventing these fatigue episodes will help you heal more effectively from long-term covid, Maley adds.

According to Meli, patients who suffer from shortness of breath often find yoga-based breathing exercises useful – long, slow deep breaths through your nose. According to him, some breathing exercises help to strengthen the respiratory muscles, while others help to control the sensations of breathing and respiration.

As a rule, long-term Covid patients have no impairment of lung function, says Maily: “We think [the shortness of breath] Instead of an injury inside the lungs, such as a scar or something left over from an infection, it can alert the muscles and nerves that control breathing. “

Does vaccination help prevent long-term Covid?

The CDC notes that people who have not been vaccinated may be at higher risk of prolonged exposure to Covid infection. According to Meli, most of the research so far has been “a bit confusing as to how strong the defense is.”

Dr. Nisha Viswanathan, Co-Director of UCLA Health COVID-19 Outpatient Monitoring Program and Long COVID Program. “We know that there is a third of our initial research [were] Those who have not been vaccinated have shown signs of Covid for a long time, ”he said.

Covid vaccines can reduce the severity of the disease for people who have been infected with the virus. Similarly, according to Meli, several studies have shown that vaccinated people who develop chronic Covid have fewer symptoms than those who have not been vaccinated with Long Covid.

However, he adds, it does not guarantee that the vaccine will protect anyone from Covid for a long time, at least without further research.

Who is more at risk?

Gut points out that recent mutations in the Covid virus are causing more and more mild infections – and since milder infections cause fewer cases of long-lasting Covid, he doesn’t expect the next wave of Covid to last longer.

However, according to Meli, she is currently seeing patients of all ages with long-term Covid symptoms, mostly young people. Some studies also suggest that long Covid affects women more than men.

The reason, according to Mali, is still unknown.

According to Viswanathan, many of his long-term patients with Covid had pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and obesity. “So ways to prevent it [long Covid]In addition to vaccinations, it consists of a really clean diet [and] regular exercise, ”he says.

This is not a “stupid” strategy, says Viswanathan: Many healthy people still cultivate Covid for a long time.

“But I would say that their number is much smaller,” he adds.

Update: This case has been updated to reflect the fact that Covid’s long-term symptoms may last for at least a year in some patients, according to research.

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