Main symptoms are breathing difficulties, chronic fatigue and cognitive changes, such as memory and logic problems, which can last for months.
By Fernanda Bassette, from Agência Einstein
More than two years after the start of the pandemic in Covid-19scientists around the world are still trying to discover and explain what are the causes of the so-called long covid – cases in which patients infected by the SARS-CoV-2 continue to have persistent symptoms for months after they have recovered from the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10% to 20% of infected people have long-term symptoms and warns that this can happen to anyone, even those who have had mild cases – although it is more common among those who have had the severe form. of the disease.
according to the doctor infectologist Moacyr Silva Junior, from the Hospital Infection Control Service and the ICU of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, although there are several studies in progress on the long covid, there are still no definitive answers to explain exactly what causes it. In long-term covid, according to the specialist, debilitating symptoms usually persist for more than four weeks after diagnosis and there is no average time of duration, which varies greatly from case to case.
“Long covid affects several systems of the body. The main symptoms are pulmonary changes [dificuldades respiratórias]; chronic fatigue and cognitive changes, such as more detailed memory problems and logical associations, which can last for months”, says the doctor. Other common symptoms are loss of smell and/or taste for extended time. “There are cases of people who have been contaminated and, so far, have not been able to recover these senses”, she says.
Also according to the specialist, the condition usually occurs in older patients, with diabetes type 1 or 2, and affects more women and people who had serious cases of covid-19, who needed ICU admission. The problem does not manifest itself in the same way in everyone – hence the difficulty in explaining why it happens in some people and not in others.
Does vaccination protect?
There is still no data to determine that the vaccination protects against long covid cases. But, according to the specialist, the experience and observation of doctors show that the vaccines can, yes, reduce the risk of patients having the problem after an infection by the coronavirus.
This is because it is already proven that vaccination protects against more serious cases of covid-19 – and it is precisely these patients who are at greater risk of the prolonged form of the disease.
The infectologist points out that there is no specific treatment for long covid, as each patient manifests it in a way. The recommendation is to look for a specialist doctor, if symptoms persist after the end of the infection.
“If the person has memory problems, they should see a neurologist, for example. The treatment today is palliative and multidisciplinary”, he concludes.
(Source: Einstein Agency)
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