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Stopping long COVID

A recent study which will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases has found that only about one in four people have completely recovered from COVID a full year after being hospitalized with the disease, warning that long COVID could become a common condition.

The study involving more than 2,300 people also found that women were 33 percent less likely to fully recover than men, obese people were half as likely to fully recover, and those who needed mechanical ventilation were 58 percent less likely.

The study looked at the health of people who were discharged from 39 British hospitals with COVID between March 202 and April 2021, then assessed the recovery of 807 of them five months and one year later.

Just 26 percent reported a full recovery after five months, and that number rose slightly to 28.9 percent after a year, according to the study published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal.

“The limited recovery from five months to one year after hospitalization in our study across symptoms, mental health, exercise capacity, organ impairment and quality of life is striking,” said study coleader Rachel Evans of the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

The most common long-COVID symptoms were fatigue, muscle pain, poor sleep, slowing down physically and breathlessness. “Without effective treatments, long COVID could become a highly prevalent new long-term condition,” said study colead Christopher Brightling of the University of Leicester.

The prospect of long COVID is a frightening condition that most of us would prefer to avoid. As of now, there are two ways to ensure a person isn’t burdened with it. The first is to not get COVID at all and the second is to not get the type that results in hospitalization if ever one is infected. Both can be achieved through vaccination which has been proven to do exactly that and is now widely accessible, even here in the Philippines after government initially dropped the ball that could have started the nation’s vaccination program quicker.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. If another surge comes, those who are not fully protected can still get it and those who get a severe infection could end up hospitalized and potentially go home with long COVID even if they survive. Until the human race beats this pandemic, we still need to do all we can to protect ourselves from the coronavirus and its debilitating long-term effects.*

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November 2022
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