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Covid-19: 5 or More Symptoms in 1st Week of Infection Leads to Long Covid, Says Study

In long COVID, patients experience prolonged symptoms extending sometimes for months. People around the world have ben complaining of several symptoms such as breathlessness and gastroenterological issues.

A BMC health worker collects swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, at a station in Mumbai, Wednesday, June 30 (Photo Credit: PTI)

New Delhi: A review published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM) has said that people who show over five symptoms during the first week of Covid-19 infection have a chance of long COVID, which means they will experience prolonged symptoms that can continue for months.

The researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK have shown that there are the ten most common symptoms of long COVID.

These symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, cough, headache, joint pain, chest pain, altered smell, diarrhoea, and altered taste.

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“There is evidence that the impact of acute COVID-19 on patients, regardless of severity, extends beyond hospitalisation in the most severe cases, to ongoing impaired quality of life, mental health, and employment issues,” said the study lead author Olalekan Lee Aiyegbusi, from the University of Birmingham.

Researchers found two main symptom clusters of long COVID, the first are fatigue, headache and upper respiratory complaints and the other are those with multi-system complaints including ongoing fever and gastroenterological symptoms.

“People living with long COVID generally feel abandoned and dismissed by healthcare providers and receive limited or conflicting advice,” Aiyegbusi said.

During the study, it was found that one-third of the patients reported that they felt more ill after eight weeks than at the onset of the infection.

Shamil Haroon, co-principal investigator of the study from the University of Birmingham said, “It is essential we act quickly to address these issues”.

When compared to other coronaviruses, it was found that patients experiencing long COVID will experience a similar trajectory to that of patients who had SARS or MERS.

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They point to analysis showing that six months after hospital discharge, approximately 25 per cent of patients hospitalised with SARS and MERS had reduced lung function and exercise capacity.

“The wide range of potential symptoms and complications patients with long COVID may experience highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the clinical course of the condition,” said study’s co-principal investigator Melanie Calvert, a professor at the University of Birmingham.

“There is an urgent need for better, more integrated care models to support and manage patients with long COVID to improve clinical outcomes,” Calvert added.

With inputs from PTI

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