What Is Long COVID?
According to the King's College COVID symptom research app, one out of every ten people infected with COVID-19 will develop long-term effects from the virus. We'll look at the ideas behind Long COVID in this blog.
While for many people COVID 19 can be a short and even mild illness, there is a growing minority of people who are taking a longer time to recover. Some of these people are still experiencing symptoms six, seven or eight months down the line. These people are suffering from what is now known as ‘Long COVID’.
There is no singular definition of Long COVID. Sufferers report a constellation of wide-ranging symptoms including breathlessness, headaches, conjunctivitis, sore throat, gastric problems, neurological problems, dry eyes, insomnia, depression, skin rashes, chest pain and heart problems. However, the most common symptom seems to be debilitating fatigue.
Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, scientific research has not yet been able to definitively say what Long COVID is, but there are various theories about what is caused by. According to the most recent research, it could be caused by one or a combination of the following:
- Damage to the organs such as the heart, lungs and liver, caused by the initial infection.
- Post viral fatigue syndrome - some viruses can make people very ill for a long time after the initial infection has subsided.
- Post intensive care syndrome - when the body has suffered from permanent damage as a result of being ventilated or in a coma.
- Continuing COVID-19 symptoms - when sufferers are ‘relapsing’ and the virus appears to reactivate within their body.
- Chronic inflammation within the body.
- Autoimmune response - when the overactive response has not calmed down after the initial infection and the body starts to attack itself.
How can you look after yourself if you have Long COVID?
- Rest. Post viral fatigue can go on for many months. It is important during this time not to push yourself back to your previous levels of activity as this could cause a relapse.
- Get support. It can be difficult for friends and family to understand what it is like to have Long COVID and so lean on the support of others.
- Speak to your GP - it is important to rule out any other conditions that might be causing your symptoms. Give your GP a factual account and timeline of your symptoms. Ask them if there is a Long COVID clinic in your area that you can get a referral to.
- Support yourself naturally - ensure that you get enough sleep, eat a nutritious diet containing plenty of whole foods and investigate dietary supplements with the support of your doctor or a naturopath. Switch your skincare to non-irritating natural alternatives to manage any skin problems associated with the condition.