Recognizing the more-than-200 symptoms of ‘long COVID’
Researchers have done the largest international study of long haulers to date. There were 203 different symptoms in 10 organ systems.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It could be our best understanding of long COVID yet.
We’ve heard stories of people who have recovered from COVID-19 but still experience symptoms months later. Just like COVID-19 cases, the symptoms seem to be different for everyone.
Now researchers have done the largest international study of long haulers to date. They found more than 200 symptoms.
Researchers at the University of London surveyed 3,762 people from 56 countries. All of these people had gotten COVID between December 2019 and May 2020. They were surveyed for seven months.
The big picture here: there were 203 different symptoms in 10 organ systems. A total of 66 of them stuck around the entire seven months.
The most common ones were fatigue, worsening symptoms after physical or mental exertion, and brain fog. Some other more uncommon symptoms included visual hallucinations, itchy skin, shingles, blurred vision and tinnitus.
The study didn’t look at how long, long COVID lasts, but there were some hints. For 92 percent of people, symptoms lasted at least eight months after that first positive COVID-19 test. Only about 233 people had fully recovered by the end of the study.
So, what do we do with all this information? The researchers say this shows we need to widen the medical guidelines for diagnosing long-COVID.
“There are likely to be tens of thousands of long COVID patients suffering in silence, unsure that their symptoms are connected to COVID-19,” says Dr. Athena Akrami, senior author, “We now believe a national programme could be rolled out into communities able to screen, diagnose and treat all those suspected of having long COVID symptoms.”
Dr. Akrami says it’s especially important to consider these neurological symptoms people are experiencing because you can’t treat them properly if you don’t know the root cause of them.
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