Do You Have Long-Haul COVID-19? Here is What You Can Do to Recover Quickly
One of the most perplexing elements of the COVID-19 virus is how most people recover within a few weeks while others battle the effects and symptoms of the virus for months. The medical community has termed these individuals the "long-haulers." It is estimated that up to 30% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases end up in this category, not being able to shake the symptoms of the virus months after the initial diagnosis.
Here is how you can discern if you are a long-hauler and how you can get back on the road to recovery more quickly.
Common Symptoms of COVID-19 Long-Haulers
There is no shortage of symptoms associated with long-haulers. Keep in mind that individual symptoms may vary and this list is far from exhaustive.
- Shortness of Breath - Many long-haulers report shortness of breath long after the rest of the symptoms have eased up. This is particularly apparent when exercising or breathing hard.
- Lingering Pain - Although most patients recover within a few weeks, the long-haulers can see the most common symptoms of the virus for months on end. These symptoms include a lingering headache, a cough that will not go away, and joint pain.
- Altered Sense of Taste and Smell - One of the most bizarre symptoms of COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell that many people experience. While the long-haulers may regain some of those senses, it may be in a reduced or altered state for quite some time.
- Fatigue - Long-haulers repeatedly report unrelenting fatigue. Even after the rest of the symptoms have eased up, this fatigue can linger for months. This may make it difficult to perform everyday tasks with ease.
- Cognitive Issues - Another curious effect that may stay with some people for a significant amount of time is impaired cognitive functioning. Some patients describe this feeling as a "brain fog" or that something merely feels "off" in their mind.
How to Treat the Long-Haul Symptoms
While there is no definitive cure to treat the long-haul symptoms, there are things that you can do to ease the discomfort. The best piece of advice is to use your body as your guide. You do not want to rush back into everyday activities if you are still dealing with the effects of this debilitating virus.
If you are still dealing with leg or toe swelling as a result of the virus, it is a good idea to be purposeful about elevating your legs for at least 20 minutes a few times per day. It is also vital that you are diligent about getting enough sleep each night.
Some physicians recommend keeping a diary of your physical activity so that you can track to see if your energy levels are improving the farther out that you get from the onset of symptoms. This information will also prove useful if you need to consult the attention of a medical professional.
When to Seek Medical Help
For some long-haulers, the ongoing symptoms are merely a nuisance to their everyday lives. So how do you know when you need to seek professional help? If your symptoms are mild enough that it is not impeding your daily routine, you will probably be able to self-treat at home.
However, it is important to seek medical attention immediately if you are having problems breathing, if you experience pressure or pain in your chest, or if you are having trouble eating or drinking. You should also speak with a doctor if you notice that you are losing or gaining weight unintentionally. Severe gastrointestinal issues are also a cause for concern.
It is important to note that the research on the effects of long-term COVID-19 symptoms is still in its infancy stages. Like everything dealing with this novel virus, there is simply not enough research to be able to offer vetted advice. Instead, you need to take care of your body like you would any time that you are not feeling well. Do not hesitate to reach out to your medical care provider if you feel as if the ongoing symptoms are affecting your quality of life.
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