Sure Signs You May Have Post-Acute COVID Syndrome, Says MD
While COVID restrictions have been lifted and the virus isn't dominating the news like it did last year, the pandemic isn't over and experts still recommend taking safety precautions to avoid catching COVID. Although many people do recover within a few days, everyone responds differently to the virus and anyone can be at risk for Long COVID. Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies tells us, "According to the CDC, 1 in 13 people has symptoms of long COVID, defined as having symptoms of the virus 3 or 4 months after contracting it. However, it is important to remember that not everyone's experience with the coronavirus is the same, so the discussion of post-acute COVID is essential." She adds, "Some people may have only mild or no symptoms, while others may experience more severe illness. Even after recovery, some people may experience side effects from the virus. These 'long haulers,' as sometimes called, may suffer from fatigue, shortness of breath, and other issues for weeks or even months after infection. While most people will eventually recover from the virus and return to their everyday lives, it is essential to be aware of the potential long-term effects of the disease." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
What to Know About COVID Right Now
Dr. Mitchell says, "COVID-19 has been a part of our lives for a few years now, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. For many of us, the initial shock of the pandemic has worn off, and we have settled into a new normal. We have learned to live with the virus and made peace with its presence in our lives. It is now simply a nuisance. We go about our days, taking the necessary precautions but otherwise living our lives as best we can. This is not to say that we are not still affected by the pandemic – the virus has had a profound impact on all of us – but we have made our peace with it. We will continue to live with it until we can finally put it behind us."
What is Post-Acute COVID Syndrome?
Dr. Mitchell explains, "Post-Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS) is a condition that can occur after someone has recovered from COVID-19. While the exact cause is unknown, it is thought to be related to the body's inflammatory response to the virus. PACS can cause many symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, chest pain, and gastrointestinal issues. Some people also report feeling "long-haulers," which means that they continue to experience symptoms for months after their initial infection. While there is no specific treatment for PACS, most people recover with time and self-care. However, some people may require hospitalization or long-term care. If you think you may have PACS, it is essential to see a doctor for evaluation and treatment."
Who is at Risk?
According to Dr. Mitchell, "There is still a lot unknown about Post-Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS). However, we know that some people are more at risk for developing PACS than others. People who are most at risk include:
* Those who have had a severe case of COVID-19, especially those who were hospitalized
* Elderly patients
* Patients with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes
* Patients who experienced specific symptoms during their illness, such as delirium or extreme fatigue
Interestingly, women have a higher chance of getting PACS-9.4% in women and only 5.5% in men.
If you fall into any of these categories, it is essential to be aware of the possible long-term effects of COVID-19 and watch for PACS symptoms. However, it is essential to remember that even if you are at high risk, most people who develop PACS will fully recover."
What Should People Know About Post-Acute COVID Syndrome?
"Post-Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS) is a condition that can occur after a person has been infected with the coronavirus. It is characterized by fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, and other symptoms that can persist for weeks or even months after the initial infection," Dr. Mitchell states. "While the exact cause of PACS is not yet known, it is believed to be related to the body's immune response to the virus. Some experts believe that PACS may be caused by an overreaction of the immune system, while others think it may be due to damage caused by the virus. There is currently no specific treatment for PACS, but many symptoms can be managed with rest and over-the-counter medications. Therefore, anyone who has had COVID-19 should be aware of the possibility of developing PACS and should contact their healthcare provider if they experience any unexplained symptoms."
Fatigue That is Not Relieved by Rest
Dr. Mitchell shares, "Post-Acute Covid Syndrome (PCS) is a condition that can occur after a person has had Covid-19. The symptoms of PACS can vary from person to person, but fatigue is one of the most common symptoms. People with PACS often report feeling exhausted, even after a good night's sleep. The fatigue associated with PCS can be so severe that it interferes with a person's ability to carry out everyday activities. The exact cause of the fatigue is not yet known, but it is thought to be related to the body's inflammatory response to the virus. Treatment for PACS is currently focused on managing symptoms and supporting patients as they recover. With time and rest, most people with PCS will eventually make a full recovery."
Brain Fog or Difficulty Concentrating
Dr. Mitchell says, "While the long-term effects of Covid-19 are still being studied, it is clear that the virus can significantly impact brain function. One of the most common symptoms of post-Covid syndrome is brain fog, which can refer to a variety of cognitive issues, including difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and confusion. These symptoms can sometimes be severe enough to interfere with work, school, and everyday activities. While the exact mechanism is unknown, it is believed that Covid-19 may cause inflammation in the brain, which can damage delicate neural circuitry. For many people, these effects are temporary and resolved within a few months, but for some people, the cognitive problems associated with post-Covid syndrome can be long-lasting."
Dr. Mitchell explains, "While the full extent of long covid is not yet known, many patients experience persistent headaches as a syndrome symptom. There are several possible explanations for why this may be the case. First, it is thought that covid-19 can cause inflammation in the brain. This inflammation can lead to changes in neural pathways and neurotransmitter levels, which are considered to contribute to headache development. Additionally, some patients who have had covid-19 report experiencing "brain fog" or difficulty thinking clearly. This cognitive impairment could also contribute to headaches, as it can lead to increased stress and anxiety levels.
Finally, it is also possible that post-covid headaches result from changes in blood flow to the brain. Whatever the cause, it is clear that long covid can be a debilitating condition for many people. Thankfully, research is ongoing, and treatments are being developed to help those affected by this syndrome."
Muscle Aches and Joint Pain
According to Dr. Mitchell, "One of the most common symptoms of the post-covid syndrome is muscle aches and joint pain. While the exact cause of this symptom is still unknown, a few theories have been proposed. One possibility is that the virus itself directly damages muscle tissue. Another option is that the body's immune response to the virus triggers inflammation throughout the body, which leads to muscle aches and joint pain. Whatever the cause, this symptom can be highly debilitating for those who experience it. Thankfully, a few treatments can help alleviate the muscle aches and joint pain associated with post-covid syndrome. For example, physical therapy can help stretch and strengthen muscles, while over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve pain. With proper treatment, most people who experience muscle aches and joint pain from post-covid syndrome will eventually improve their symptoms."
Shortness of Breath
Dr. Mitchell says, "Shortness of breath is a common symptom of post-COVID syndrome, also known as "long COVID. "While the exact mechanism is not yet known, it is believed that post-COVID syndrome may cause inflammation in the lungs and airways, leading to difficulty breathing. In addition, the virus may also damage the cells that line the respiratory tract, making it more difficult for oxygen to pass through. Whatever the cause, shortness of breath is a severe symptom that can significantly impact a person's quality of life.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to consult a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. While some of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions, they could also indicate PACS. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention to rule out other possibilities and receive the appropriate care."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.