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New Dimension to COVID-19 Virus: Long COVID

COVID-19 brings terrible symptoms, usually lasting a few weeks, but lately, people have noticed that these dreadful COVID-19 symptoms linger for months even after recovering or testing negative. This condition is called as Post COVID Syndrome or Long term COVID.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined long Covid as "usually three months from the onset of Covid-19 with symptoms that last for at least two months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis."


It's been estimated that more than half of the COVID-infected patients have experienced or are going through Post COVID Syndrome. That means more tha half of the 236 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 could still be suffering from the COVID symptoms despite not having COVID.


The elderly, people with underlying medical conditions, etc., the most vulnerable to COVID-19, are most likely to suffer from Long COVID. However, the younger public may also be affected but in lower numbers. Women are also more likely than men to get Long Covid. The symptoms of Long COVID are not severe enough to land these patients in the hospital for the most part, but symptoms persist for days past them testing negative.


There are various symptoms of long covid that range from cognitive to skin—the Long COVID primary targets the brain, the heart, and the gut.

In long COVID, the patient's cognitive health is affected while suffering from Depression or Anxiety. The patients have also been said to have experienced a brain fog: they were having problems with memory and concentration. Dizziness may be recurring. They may also have difficulty sleeping, i.e., insomnia and face constant tiredness and be fatigued.


Long COVID may also bring shortness of breath, racing heartbeats/ heart palpitations, chest pains/ tightness, Feeling pins and needles on the body, or experiencing joint pain. Some also share sickness, diarrhea, and aching of the stomach. Some may lose appetite and change to senses like smell or taste. The common COVID symptoms like high temperature, cough, sore throat, etc., are also found in Long COVID. Few unusual symptoms may also be present like rashes, tinnitus, earaches, etc. 


The symptoms vary from person to person, and the length of time a patient may be affected by long COVID varies. Some may get better and then get worse, while others may continue to be unwell during the length of Long Covid.


One positive is that vaccination may reduce the possibility of getting affected by long covid. UK Health Security Agency, in February 2022, published a review that shows that people who have gotten vaccinated are less likely to be affected. Another good news is that Long COVID is not contagious as it is our own body's reaction to the virus when it continues beyond the initial illness.


It seems that COVID continues to evolve and cause trouble for the world even after it is cured. As much as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over, this long COVID may be something that we may have to live with.

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