KOCHI: Though the severity of the Covid waves has come down, experts believe that Long Covid will be the next health crisis to be battled. Studies across the world have proven that many patients are haunted by Long Covid issues, which take a toll on their mental and physical health. Experts urge hospitals to be ready to deal with a surge in the near future, as they consider Long Covid the next public health disaster.
Long Covid is not a condition for which there currently is a standard objective diagnostic test or biomarker. It is not characterised specifically by blood clots, myocarditis, multisystem inflammatory disease, pneumonia, or any well-characterised conditions caused by Covid.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Long Covid is a range of symptoms that can last for weeks or months, and can affect anyone who has had Covid. The symptoms may affect a number of organs or systems, occur in diverse patterns, and frequently get worse after physical or mental activity.
“No one knows what the time duration of long Covid will be, or what proportion of patients will recover completely or will have long-term symptoms. By this time, we all know that a Covid infection changes one’s body. It varies from person to person — there are instances where I have been approached by those who recovered having unusual hair fall. Though the cases are rare, a proper study is needed to arrive at a conclusion,” said Dr Monu Varghese, pulmonologist based in Kochi.
A considerable number of individuals infected with Covid continue to experience symptoms after the acute phase of the infection. Dysosmia (dysfunction of the sense of smell), dysgeusia (distortion of the sense of taste), fatigue/exhaustion, difficulty in breathing, recurring headaches, and reduced strength in arms/legs have been reported.
Also, international studies have revealed that some Covid recovered patients had memory issues, sleep problems and mental or physical exhaustion. During the first wave itself, psychologists had expressed their anxiousness about the stress and the anxiety that the community suffers due to the impact of Covid.
Psychologist Dr Mahesh K said he came across a 37-year-old Chennai-based entrepreneur reportedly suffering from sleeplessness for over 4 months. “He has been taking medicines, but to no avail. His quality of life has been affected, and he is now undergoing therapy,” said Mahesh.