While most COVID-19 infection patients recover within two weeks, some continue to experience significant symptoms for several months; a condition described by many as COVID-19 long haul. Studies showed that about 10 per cent of people with COVID-19 infection ended up with COVID-19 long haul.
COVID-19 long-haul symptoms can be debilitating in some cases and could last for more than one year. Some long-haulers struggle to cope with basic daily activities and are unfit to return to their regular jobs.
The two most common complaints are fatigue or muscle weakness and brain fog. Other symptoms include; shortness of breath or being easily winded, extreme tiredness after normal physical activities, headache, ringing in the ears, mental health problems, anxiety and depression, sleeplessness and dizziness.
While the risk of COVID-19 long haul may be more on people with severe COVID-19 infection, it is also common in people with mild COVID-19 infection, including young, healthy adults.
Scientists are yet to clearly understand why some COVID 19 infection survivors become long haulers and who will. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection attacks the body’s vital organs such as the heart, lung, kidneys, brain, muscles and nerves; these damages contribute to the long haul. The social isolation, emotional trauma and limited physical activity associated with COVID-19 infection contribute to mental health problems and muscle weakness on the long haulers.
Because of the increasing number of long haulers, the economic burden and the impacts of the long hauls in the lives of COVID-19 survivors, many health authorities had established special post-COVID-19 infection clinics. These clinics are run by teams of physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and counsellors. The team provides specialized COVID-19 long-haul care. Physical therapy and counselling are core components of the COVID-19 long-haul care with proven benefits and effectiveness.
Similar to most small rural communities, Houston has no post-COVD-19 clinics. COVID-19 long haulers in Houston are encouraged to contact their family doctors for treatment support and assistance with accessing post-COVID-19 infection clinic and other expert resources. In addition, there are credible and relevant long haulers’ recovery care resources on the internet. The Provincial Health Service Authority website has good long haulers’ recovery care resources; http://www.phsa.ca/health-info/post-covid-19-care-recovery.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 long haul is a chronic debilitating health condition and the only reliable way to avoid getting it is by avoiding getting COVID-19 infection.