COVID-19 cases continue to impact people across the globe, as cases continue to grow with a staggering 1.8 million infection cases in the UK. The symptoms of COVID-19 are well known at this point, with a cough, fever and headache the tell-tale signs. However, some sufferers are reporting extended symptoms months after having the virus. In fact, a new study reveals symptoms of the virus can last up to six weeks after the first diagnosis.
The study has reported a third of COVID-19 patients show symptoms up to six weeks later from infection.
Researchers at Geneva University studied a total of 699 people with confirmed COVID-19 and who did not need hospitalisation.
Patients reported symptoms including fatigue with 33 per cent, loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath or a cough six weeks after diagnosis.
Participants in the study were contacted at regular intervals to self-report symptoms. The study did not follow up with those who were hospitalised.
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“Follow-up during the 10 days was suspended if patients declined follow-up, clinically recovered, or were hospitalised.
“Cough and loss of taste or smell were common early in the clinical course.
“At 30 to 45 days from diagnosis, at least 32 percent of the 669 originally included patients reported one or more symptoms.
“Fatigue, dyspnoea, and loss of taste or smell were the main persistent symptoms.”
The study concluded that patients with COVID-19 develop an array of symptoms that evolve over time.
Recognising the persistence of symptoms could legitimise patients’ concerns in an unknown and new disease.
The authors of the study warned that previously healthy people can also be affected by Covid-19, weeks or even months following the infection.
They found a large proportion (69 per cent) of those involved in the study had no underlying risk factors.
Dr Mayssam Nehme, a Senior Resident at the University of Geneva said: “In addition to the physical distress of their symptoms, many were very worried: how much longer would it last? Were some after-effects irrecoverable?
“Even without a clear medical answer, in the current state of knowledge, it is important to accompany concerned patients and to listen to them.”
Growing reports of “long COVID” symptoms, which dog people for months, add urgency to ongoing attempts to stem the viral transmission.
Long COVID sufferers also reported heart symptoms such as palpitations or a fast heartbeat, as well as pins and needles or numbness, and problems concentrating (“brain fog”).
People who experienced a wide range of symptoms across many body systems were more likely to need a hospital assessment.
This latest study and numerous reports indicate that long COVID can have a major impact on the lives of a significant minority of patient’s weeks or months after they have contracted the virus.