Most people are now all too familiar with the common symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Some people have experienced other symptoms of the potentially deadly disease including gastrointestinal issues, rashes on skin, congestion, loss of smell, and fatigue. Sufferers with mild illness might expect to get better after a few weeks, however, there is mounting evidence this isn’t the case. Scientists and medical experts are seeing long-lasting symptoms from patients even months after recovery.
Former COVID-19 patients say they are still suffering from horrific symptoms from the virus months after beating the disease.
Samantha Demmler, 27, from Melbourne, Australia tested positive for COVID-19 back in March and still suffers from the lingering effects.
Demmler said: “Since having the virus, my main lingering effects have been a buildup of fluid in my lungs, decreased sense of smell and memory loss.”
Infectious disease scientists and experts still know very little about the long-term effects of the novel coronavirus, leaving many former patients living in fear of copping a second wave of the disease.
Professor Peter Collignon from ANU told the Herald Sun that with many infections a small percentage of patients normally suffer lasting effects, however, the percentage is still unknown for coronavirus.
Professor Collignon said: “You often see it takes many months for people to get back to normal even when, in medicine, we can’t find an abnormality.
“The bottom line is we don’t know the percentages but there will be some people who are left with underlying issues.”
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In a study published in Jama Network, persistent symptoms in patients after acute COVID-19 was investigated.
The study noted: “In Italy, a large proportion of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presented with symptoms (71.4 percentage of 31 845 confirmed cases as of June 3, 2020).
“Common symptoms include cough, fever, dyspnoea, musculoskeletal symptoms (myalgia, joint pain, fatigue), gastrointestinal symptoms, and anosmia/dysgeusia.
“However, information is lacking on symptoms that persist after recovery.
“We assessed persistent symptoms in patients who were discharged from the hospital after recovery from COVID-19.
“This study found that in patients who had recovered from COVID-19, 87.4 percent reported persistence of at least one symptom, particularly fatigue and dyspnoea.”
People with severe COVID-19 seem to show an altered immune response even in the disease’s early stages said Medical Express.
It continued: “They have fewer circulating immune cells, which fail to efficiently control the virus, and instead suffer an exaggerated inflammatory response.
“This is increasingly recognised as one of the main factors that makes the disease so serious in some patients.
“Suppressing this exaggerated response with the immunosuppressant dexamethasone remains the only treatment that reduces death rates in those who require oxygen support or intensive care.”
Studies have shown that anyone with a severe disease would be expected to suffer long-lasting consequences and so COVID-19 would be no different.
However, the deadly disease seems to have persistent symptoms even in those with milder forms of the illness.
Ms Demmler is a severe asthmatic and said it was scary not knowing the trajectory of the disease and her recovery process.
“For us people that have had the virus it’s even more upsetting that we have no clarity if we can get the virus again and what are the effects going to be long term,” she said.
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