Dr Hilary Jones outlines plans for coronavirus ‘booster jabs’
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Millions of contributors to the Zoe Covid Study app have shown that up to one in 20 people who catch coronavirus suffer from long Covid. Here are the symptoms, longevity and risk factors. The analysis of the ongoing research has identified six commonly reported symptoms of long Covid, which are:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell
- Loss of taste
- Chest pain
Zoning in on a sub-section of 4,000 app users, who all tested positive for Covid with a PCR test, two groups were identified.
The first group experienced persistent respiratory symptoms, including coughing and shortness of breath.
The second group had “multi-system effects”, such as heart palpitations, pins and needles, and brain fog.
Long Covid seemingly lingers for more than eight weeks, with two percent of the users experiencing symptoms for 12 weeks or more.
“With millions of confirmed COVID-19 infections across the UK, this adds up to hundreds of thousands of people potentially affected with long COVID,” the researchers hypothesised.
Long Covid risk factors
Four risk factors that increase a person’s chances of long Covid were identified.
The first risk factor for long Covid is being older in age – long Covid seems to affect more older people than younger people.
The second risk factor for long Covid is a person’s sex – females were slightly more likely to get the add-on disease than men.
Another factor is whether or not a person has asthma, as the lung condition can increase the likelihood of long Covid occurring.
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The final – and fourth – element that contributes to the development of drawn-out symptoms is whether the person has had lots of different symptoms in the first week.
Although the exact cause behind long Covid is still under investigation, there have been scientific theories sprouting legs.
For instance, some experts suggest that long Covid is the result of the immune system struggling to return to normal following a Covid infection.
Meanwhile, studies have demonstrated that some long Covid sufferers have mild damage to their organs and tissues after catching the virus.
It’s the internal damage done to the body that is thought to contribute to residual symptoms.
Another theory is that long Covid has been linked to changes in the brain.
Speculation abounds that this deadly virus has after effects similar to post-viral syndromes like chronic fatigue.
If you’re concerned about any prolonged signs of Covid, do book a phone consultation with your GP.
You may be referred to one of the new NHS long Covid clinics if you’ve been experiencing side effects for longer than 12 weeks.
There are more than 60 clinics across the UK full of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham are currently investigating the effectiveness of targeted therapies for the condition.
The aim is that further information will be brought to light about prevention and successful treatment of long Covid.
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