While most people recover from Covid infection completely within a few weeks, some people suffer from the long-term impact of the infection. It can go on for several months in extreme cases and lead to a lot of health complications. Suffering from such chronic effects is usually called Long Covid effects, and it can be seen in many patients who already have health complications.
The Initial Point Of Diagnosis Is Important In Predicting Long Covid
Some of the common symptoms of long covid include loss of smell and taste for a very long time. Apart from that, such patients also complain about shortness of breath even when they are not working hard. Other symptoms include constant fatigue and even brain fog.
The latest study has shown that several factors can be identified in the initial stage of diagnosis that will help predict if the patient is at high risk for long covid effects. The presence of certain types of autoantibodies along with co-morbid conditions like diabetes should be taken seriously in the initial stage of Covid diagnosis. Apart from that, the viral load during infection and the Epstein-Barr virus DNA levels should also be analyzed to assess the risks for developing long Covid.
Surprisingly, many patients had suffered from long Covid even when they had a mild infection in the initial stage. However, patients who need hospitalization and critical care are more likely to develop long Covid later. For this reason, several experts suggest that antiviral therapy should be started in the early stages of treatment as this reduces the strength of the virus in the long run. In this way, the risk of long covid can be reduced largely.
The long-term implications of Covid infection are not yet studied in a detailed manner. As the pandemic is relatively new, it may take a few more years to understand the complete impact of Covid infection on the human body. Till then, vaccination and social distancing are our only weapons against this virus.
Researchers believe that viral load plays an important role in determining who is at high risk for developing long Covid. The viral load in the blood samples at an early stage of diagnosis will help the doctors to understand the risk factors associated with the infection. When the data of several patients were monitored for such symptoms, it was found that those with high viral load in the early stages of infection were at high risk for developing long Covid symptoms.
Yet another disturbing thing to come out of the study is that the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus is another factor that can influence long Covid symptoms. The EBV virus can reactivate after a Covid infection and lead to various complications. As the immune system gets affected during an infection, it can lead to complications wherein previously dormant virus gets activated and starts affecting the body.
Apart from that, people suffering from any sort of auto-immune disease are prone to developing long covid. For this reason, the patients who suffer from such conditions should be examined regularly even after they recover from the initial infection. This will be helpful to identify the symptoms in the early stages.
Such people with a weak immune system and co-morbid conditions are more likely to get re-infected, which is already seen in the third pandemic wave. Experts think that breakthrough infections in people with low immunity often lead to health complications in the long run. Such patients can get some added protection by taking booster shots. In this way, they can protect themselves from the risk of re-infection in the near future.