Long Covid cases double during second wave

HYDERABAD: Percentage of long Covid-19 cases are 20 to 30 per cent during the second wave while it was 10 to 15 per cent during the first wave, according to initial data collated from private hospitals in Hyderabad. The burden of long Covid has been on lungs, heart, brain and gut.

It has been noticed that 40 per cent of patients develop persistent coughs and have difficulty in breathing and develop lung fibrosis.

The long-term consequences are noted in those who suffered from severe symptoms, persistent and long illness requiring hospitalisation and underwent critical care.

In 10 per cent of the cases, it has been found that the illness was very mild and recovery from Covid-19 was quick but there were symptoms of long Covid after a month.

In five per cent of the cases of those who had no initial symptoms, it was found that long Covid manifested after one month making them realise that they had already suffered from it. These are very few cases but they have been noted as they came back with problems in the gut, heart issues or persistent breathlessness.

In severe Covid-19 cases, it has been found that after six to eight weeks, the patients reported back with problems in heart, brain fog and lungs.

Dr Shyamala Iyengar, senior consultant of internal medicine at Apollo Hospitals, says, "We are learning that the problems in the cardiovascular and neurological systems are severe chest pain, chronic fatigue, dyspnoea and also scarring in parts of the heart which lead to myocardial injury. It has been noted that 60 to 80 per cent of the severe cases reported symptoms after 50 days of diagnosis." In those with pre-existing cardiac conditions like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol, there has been severity of long Covid.

Dr Venkat Ramesh, senior consultant infectious diseases, explained, "The gut flora is altered because of the virus and subsequent treatment process. In some patients we have noted recurrent diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss. There is also malnutrition observed in patients as they are not able to eat. These patients need to be put on probiotics."

The neurological symptoms in terms of delirium, brain fog, mood swings and sleep problems have also been documented. Experts state that they are still learning about the different types of long Covid.

The Telangana State Medical Council, along with Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, is compiling data of long Covid in the state. This is being done to understand the impact and also the challenges which have been faced by healthcare workers in identifying long Covid. Those people who have suffered after recovery are also not able to understand what is still wrong with them.

Many patients are confused as they do not want to go to hospitals or undergo treatment again. But they require medication and care and that is leading to financial burden for many of them.

Common symptoms reported after recovery from Covid-19

1. Difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath

2. Tired if speaking for too long, standing and even sitting

3. Fatigue and low on energy all the time

4. Persistent cough

5. Pain in the chest and stomach

6. Severe headaches, sleeping problems and mood swings

7. Pain in joints and muscles

8. Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting

9. Rashes

10. Pins and needles feeling in the body.


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