COVID Symptoms to be Concerned About Most
This week, Sen. Tim Kaine proposed a bill to aid people with Long COVID, the mysterious syndrome following a COVID infection that involves chronic, often debilitating symptoms. It's estimated that one-third to one-half of people who've had COVID go on to develop Long COVID. "That's going to put a burden on our health-care system," said Kaine, "and it's also going to require some research and some understanding, compassion, for people dealing with these symptoms — adjustments and accommodations in the workplace. There's going to be a lot of consequences of this." These are some of the latest symptoms and physical effects that have been reported as part of Long COVID—and what you can do to prevent it. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
When introducing the bill, Kaine revealed he was still experiencing Long COVID symptoms after developing a mild case of coronavirus in March 2020. Chief among his symptoms: A "24/7" tingling sensation throughout his body. "I tell people it feels like all my nerves have had like five cups of coffee," he told the Washington Post.
This week, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Institutes of Health said there might be an association between Long COVID and nerve damage. Looking at 17 people who had symptoms similar to neuropathy, they found 59% had damage to nerve fibers that regulate involuntary body functions, such as breathing. "I think what's going on here is that the nerves that control things like our breathing, blood vessels, and our digestion in some cases are damaged in these long COVID patients," said Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a lead author on the study published in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation, according to Reuters.
Anxiety and Depression
According to a new study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, people who've been infected with COVID-19 were almost three times more likely to report anxiety, nearly twice as likely to experience depression, and 2.6 times more likely to have both conditions, than people who've never had COVID-19. Researchers say this likely has many potential causes, including physical changes to the brain caused by the virus and stress resulting from the effects of illness.
On Thursday, DCist profiled a local woman who thought she had recovered from COVID, only to experience a cascade of symptoms—which she called a "COVID crash"—months later. They included the fatigue, weakness and headaches she experienced during her initial illness, along with new symptoms, like rib pain and gastrointestinal problems. "Every time I had a reprieve and then the symptoms came back, it was like a new whole sequence of a new COVID happening again," she said.
To Avoid Long COVID
The best thing you can do to avoid catching COVID-19 is also the best thing you can do to avoid Long COVID: Get fully vaccinated. In a study released in late February, UK researchers found that getting two vaccine doses reduced the risk of developing Long COVID symptoms by 41%, compared to being unvaccinated at the time of infection.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated 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.