Post Covid-19 Care

Post Covid-19 Care

Post-acute Covid-19 is defined as prolonged illness beyond three weeks from the appearance of the first symptom. In contrast, chronic covid extends beyond 12 weeks and requires urgent medical supervision for survival.  

If you have just recouped from covid-19, you might have got the battle right, but the war is yet to come. Strengthen yourself and get ready to face more consequences as you return to everyday life. 

Post covid phase requires utter care and a conscious attitude. Home quarantine is mandatory, and the term is decided by the doctor considering your current health. 

This article is solely based on post covid care to keep you aware and safe during these challenging times.  

Is this disease common?

Unfortunately, the occurrence of covid-19 is common in current times. Around 217,452,247 people across the world are infected to date, and the numbers are still growing. But only 10% of the covid-19 patients have symptoms beyond 3 weeks, and only a small proportion suffer for a month or so. 

But in terms of health, only 65% of patients got back their prior energy after 14-21 days of their positive covid result.

Why are only some people infected? 

The reason for prolonged recovery is still unknown and needs more research. The contributing factors may include reinfection, immune reactions, chronic viremia due to weak antibody response, even post-traumatic stress can prompt delayed recovery.

For other variants like MERS and SARS, musculoskeletal and neuropsychiatric issues with long-term respiratory problems are depicted. These do have pathophysiological similitude with post-covid-19.  

Common symptoms to lookout

Ongoing or newly-developed symptoms

Some recovered patients are experiencing diverse symptoms that can continue for weeks or months from the onset of initial symptoms of Covid-19. Contrary to some other variants of post-covid-19 disorders that only arise in patients with severe illness, these symptoms can occur to anyone exposed to the covid-19 virus, even with mild symptoms. 

Patients are reporting various combinations of the below-mentioned symptoms. 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Stalled fatigue 
  • Aggravated symptoms due to physical stress 
  • Chest or stomach pain 
  • Trouble in focusing or understanding
  • Persistent cough 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sleeping disorder
  • Extreme muscle and joint pain 
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Inability to taste or smell 
  • Rashes
  • Abrupt changes in period cycles
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

Multi-organ impact of coronavirus

Patients suffering from chronic covid-19 illness might experience auto-immune conditions or multi-organ impact with extended time with symptoms that can last up to weeks or months. 

Multi-organ affects most body systems like the heart, brain, lungs, skin, and kidney. Autoimmune conditions occur when your body starts attacking healthy cells due to misalignment and causes severe tissue damage in affected organs or body parts. 

MIS is a severe condition where one or more body parts become inflamed. This is quite rare, but some patients, majorly children, tend to develop the multisystem inflammatory syndrome during or shortly after recovering from covid-19. MIS can steer post-covid issues if a patient suffers from multi-organ effects or any other symptom. 

Extended hospitalization and effects of covid 

Extended hospitalization and severe effects of covid can prompt intense weakness and fatigue during a recovery phase. 

Common impacts of hospitalization include PICS or Post-intensive care syndrome. This refers to the condition that starts when a patient is kept in the ICU and can continue even after returning home. The effects involve weakness, difficulty in problem-solving or judgment, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The symptoms caused due to hospitalization are similar in patients with mild or no symptoms. It is pretty hard to comprehend whether they are induced due to the long-term effect of the covid-19 virus or hospitalization, or a combination of both. 

These conditions are complicated due to other Covid-19 effects involving mental health issues due to extended isolation, poor monetary situation, and lack of good healthcare facilities. These factors can be seen in both people who suffered from coronavirus and those who haven’t.

Which Clinical Examinations are Mandatory?

Covid-19 testing is the first step of diagnosis and treatment. Blood tests must be explicitly instructed for distinct clinical symptoms after a thorough examination and careful history check. Test of anemia should be the first thing to check. Followed by lymphopenia, a feature a covid-19.

High biomarkers might involve white cell count, ferritin, C reactive protein, D-dimer, and troponin. There are chances troponin and D-dimer tests can be falsely positive, but a negative report can decrease clinical uncertainty. For patients with evident lung damage, chest X-rays and oximeter readings are also suggested.

Post-covid care: The basics 

Respiratory issues and support 

After eliminating severe complications and until the outcome of long-term studies are accessible, a patient can be treated pragmatically and symptomatically while avoiding over-examination. For instance, fever can be managed by paracetamol. Monitoring post-covid patients isn’t rocket science; here are some essential post-care tips to help you recoup. 

Chronic cough 

Chronic cough is characterized as one that occurs beyond eight weeks. Until then, if there are indications of severe infection or complications like painful pleural inflammation, you need medical supervision. In contrast, coughing can be controlled by some breathing exercises. 

Shallow breathing exerts pressure and incites breathlessness. The breathing control method aims to normalize breathing patterns and boost the efficacy of respiratory muscles, including the diaphragm.

Shortness of breath

A state of breathlessness is quite common post-acute covid-19. However, severe breathlessness needs urgent medical care. Shortness of breath can be improved by breathing exercises, while an oximeter can help in monitoring respiratory symptoms. 

Cardiopulmonary issues, diagnosis, and treatment 

Chest discomfort

Post-acute covid-19 patients need proper care. Chest discomfort is common, but the treatment requires the proper medical history and test results. Computed tomography of chest, echocardiography, or cardiac magnetic resonance imaging can help know the exact position. If the diagnosis remains uncertain, referring to the cardiology department can help the patient revive. 

Prevention is the cure!

Post recovery, our body remains vulnerable and needs utmost care to bounce back. At this point, staying indoors, getting vaccinated, and keeping a physical distance from a sick person is suggested. 

Also read: Common Cold Vs. Covid-19

If you face severe symptoms of post-acute covid-19, it’s better to consult a doctor and start with any medication.

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