As of October 2021, more than 800,000 coronavirus infections had been recorded in Hungary. Today we all know family members and acquaintances who have had the disease, and unfortunately many of them exhibit post-COVID symptoms that persist for months after the onset of the disease. We asked Dr. NoÃ©mi Kiss-Dala, infectologist at the Private Dr. Rose Hospital, about the most common persistent symptoms and how to cure them.
How long after the onset of illness is it worth visiting a post-COVID clinic with our persistent symptoms?
Within three months of COVID-19 illness, many symptoms may improve even without examination and treatment, so in accordance with international literature, I recommend visiting a post-COVID outpatient clinic with complaints that persist for more than three months. Three months after infection, patients report the persistence of several symptoms: the most common are fatigue, headaches, cough, shortness of breath, many suffer from loss of smell and taste, pain various, numbness / tingling, but persistent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain may also develop.
After a coronavirus infection, most people no longer complain, so they recover with no residual symptoms. Fortunately, less frequently, post-COVID symptoms may also develop in those who have had a mild or asymptomatic infection, while patients with moderate to severe illness may experience post-COVID symptoms more frequently. When treating patients with post-COVID syndrome, I believe that a holistic approach is very important and that the patient’s medical history, living conditions and quality of life should also be taken into account during the examination. and processing.
It is important to exclude organ damage on the background of symptoms, therefore the examination is carried out in close collaboration with other associated specialists – such as neuropsychologists, otolaryngologists, neurologists , pulmonologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists – to help with differential diagnosis. If no serious organ abnormalities are detected, symptoms are often caused by vitamin deficiency, mineral deficiency, or locomotor disorders. These conditions can be successfully treated by supplementing missing trace elements, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, and sleep therapy, although they often require a long period of time and persistence.
What are the most common symptoms after 3 months? What are the most important post-COVID tests? And what if we don’t check for persistent symptoms?
Many patients report odor or taste disturbances three months after infection, and these complaints are treated with scent therapy. A significant number of our patients suffer from memory impairment after infection, and in such cases, a neuropsychologist can help reduce or eliminate the complaints. Many patients find it difficult to breathe even after an infection, in which case the patient feels unable to draw enough air into their lungs. These complaints can also be due to locomotor problems which can be corrected with the help of breathing exercises, but it is absolutely necessary to exclude other organ abnormalities, and if they exist, one tries to treat the abnormalities in a way. targeted.
The pulmonologist is our biggest help for this, and we can get a diagnosis with a chest CT scan and extensive lab tests. For chest conditions, a cardiac exam may be warranted, which may include a chest CT scan, cardiac ultrasound, and an ECG as well. As I mentioned before, it is very important to rule out organ abnormalities in case of persistent symptoms, as organ damage can have long term consequences. However, even in the absence of an organ abnormality, I recommend the rehabilitation of patients infected with the coronavirus, as post-COVID symptoms can lead to a significant decrease in the quality of life.
When can we do physical work and when can we play sports?
For many post-COVID symptoms, exercise and physical activity can greatly improve a patient’s condition. However, there are syndromes and diseases in which physical activity is specifically contraindicated. If there is no chronic fatigue syndrome behind the complaints, I suggest you resume physical activity three months after infection. However, it is important to keep in mind that resuming active exercise should be gradual, as excessive exertion can cause a significant relapse in the recovery capacity of patients.
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