Forbesfrontlines, Covid-19, Ebola

Forbesfrontlines, Covid-19

Could You Have Long Covid? Here Are The Common Signs And Symptoms

Could you have long Covid? Here are the common signs and symptoms: #ForbesFrontlines

7/27/2021 11:00:00 PM

Could you have long Covid? Here are the common signs and symptoms: ForbesFrontlines

Dr. Mark Kortepeter, an infectious disease expert, explains what we know - and don’t know - about the long-term impacts of Covid infections.

Long Covid is not unique – other infections can have long-lasting impactsLong Covid is a real phenomenon. From a scientific standpoint, it is a puzzle. We don’t know what causes it or why this specific virus causes it; however, it is not the only virus that can lead to long-term sequelae in a subset of people who get an infection. More recently, we have seen chronic post-infection side effects with the Ebola virus as well. Before the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, cases of Ebola occurred in remote areas in Africa and there weren’t many survivors, so we didn’t recognize the problem. But the West Africa outbreak was so large that there are now thousands of survivors, and many of them suffer from chronic ill effects that share similarities with the aftereffects of Covid, including muscular and joint pain, headaches, difficulty concentrating, skin rashes, and visual disturbances. Some victims have been found to harbor live virus that hides out in certain parts of the body (the brain, the eye, the testes). We don’t understand why some have problems and others don’t.

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This post-infection problem is not confined to just viruses. The debate about the cause and appropriate treatment for individuals who suffer from chronic symptoms after Lyme disease (caused by a bacteria) has been ongoing for decades. Multiple other infections can lead to long-term consequences after someone has appeared to recover from the acute illness.

Clearly all of these are real phenomena, but the frustrating thing is that we don’t know the cause. On the positive side, the medical establishment is now aware of this problem. Research efforts have kick-started to study these individuals to try to understand the etiology and how they do over time. If we can figure this one out, maybe we can figure out some of the other post-infection syndromes that have baffled us.

Long Covid is another reason to get vaccinatedWith Covid infection, we know that certain underlying factors predispose to more severe illness (hypertension, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, immune problems). But this isn’t the case for long Covid. In fact, even someone with a mild infection can still become a long hauler. It’s a bit like drawing straws. You don’t know who will draw the short straw. As the pandemic launches on a new wave, especially in areas with low vaccination rates, if you didn’t have enough reason to get vaccinated before, perhaps the long-hauler phenomenon will provide additional incentive.

Most people are familiar with the challenge of preventing mosquito bites when outdoors on a warm summer evening. Even if you slather on bug juice, somehow a pesky mosquito will find its window of opportunity in a minute patch of skin that is lacking repellant. Think about Covid in the same way – it seeks out the unvaccinated like that mosquito, only the short and long-term consequences may be greater. It will find you – it’s only a matter of time.

Read more: Forbes »

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