Post-Covid Care / Preventative Care

Longterm Effects of a Positive COVID-19 Test

By Dr. Abdul Ahad Hayee

February 22nd, 2021

Last updated: February 22nd, 2021

Are you familiar with “Post-COVID Syndrome”? How about “Long-COVID?” One in ten COVID-19 patients experience continued symptoms for weeks to months after their initial recovery and can consider themselves “Long Haulers”. This can look different for everyone, and at WellHealth, our unique Post-COVID treatment protocol is designed specifically to support you and your long-term health as you begin your life after Covid-19. Learn more below.

Symptoms of Long Covid

The last thing a busy parent needs after a long awaited COVID recovery is the continuation of a debilitating headache. A frontline worker should not continue to feel exhausted, after they have recovered from the disease that they are working so hard to fight. And a professional should not struggle with feeling confused and dizzy as they return to work. The continuing symptoms of Long-COVID can be frustrating and confusing following a successful recovery, but not untreatable if proactively addressed.

The list of long COVID symptoms is long and varies person to person, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Coughing: A cough is the most common long-COVID symptom. Try to control your cough by practicing a “normal” and consistent breathing pattern, hydrating, and breathing through your nose.
  • Ongoing, sometimes debilitating, fatigue: Have you been at work, but struggled to get through the day? Fatigue alone may not be a tell-tale sign of Long-COVID but fortunately, this can be addressed through a number of treatments.
  • Body aches: Most common locations of post-COVID body aches are in the chest and neck region.
  • Joint pain: COVID Joint pain occurs in about 15% of cases and can worsen arthritis symptoms for existing patients. If you are at risk for arthritis, reach out to a primary care provider if you start experiencing new or increased joint aches or stiffness.
  • Shortness of breath: It can take some time for lung capacity to return to normal following Covid-19. This is because the COVID-19 virus directly damages your lung walls, linings and air sacs. If you feel shortness of breath doing day to day activities like getting dressed or walking to the bathroom, you may be experiencing some of the more dangerous COVID syndrome symptoms and should seek medical attention.
  • Loss of taste and smell: Most patients regain these senses within a few weeks of recovery, but if not regained within 6 months, this could be a long-term ailment.
  • Difficulty sleeping: This can be due to a variety of factors, including your Coronavirus medication, or even just a lack of natural daylight. Any decrease in sleep can affect the body’s ability to protect itself and recover long term.
  • Dizziness: COVID dizziness can be caused by inflammation in the chronic nervous system. If you feel dizzy and confused following your COVID treatment and recovery, these symptoms may continue for up to 6 months.
  • Headaches: COVID headaches, whether episodic or all day, can be relentless and debilitating, and should be addressed by a medical professional.
  • Brain fog: Approximately 30% of patients experience post COVID brain fog. This can be caused by common inflammation but should be monitored and addressed as a part of your post COVID-19 treatment.

Because of the inconsistent and sometimes what may seem mild and normal nature of these symptoms, they may not be always attributed to what we are now coming to recognize as Long-COVID. But, if you or anyone you know, are still experiencing elongated symptoms after an initial COVID recovery, take care and protect your health long term.

Long Term COVID Positive Outlook

After initial COVID recovery, it is exciting to imagine what a life after Coronavirus will look like, but it is also important to keep in mind the overall picture of your long-term health. The symptoms listed above can last for weeks to months after an initial positive diagnosis, but they can be addressed in different ways to improve overall wellness.

Some of the symptoms mentioned above, like a cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath, can be addressed by yourself at home. A cough or shortness of breath can be improved through breath control. Exercises such as, diaphragmatic breathing, slow deep breathing, pursed lip breathing, or even yoga techniques can help improve breath control and treat persistent breathlessness or coughing. Similarly, symptoms such as fatigue or COVID brain fog can be improved through increased exercise, hydration, and quality rest. Overall, an increased attention to one’s general health in the form of a healthy diet, minimal caffeine and alcohol intake, quality rest, and setting achievable health targets, can be enough to effectively address most minor symptoms.

On the other hand, some symptoms may need medical attention and treatment to prevent further damage. These symptoms could be early indicators of a prolonged infection, or even possible organ damage, and although referral to a specialist rehabilitation service does not seem to be needed for most patients, the detection of key indicators such as worsening breathlessness, unexplained chest pain, a PaO2 level below 96%, new confusion, or focal weakness, can be crucial in determining when that extra step is necessary.

All in all, there are still some unknowns about how COVID-19 will affect each person over time. Researchers and medical professionals agree that the first step is monitoring recovery and symptoms. No patient should accept a lingering cough or headaches as a new normal. Reach out to a specialized post-COVID treatment provider to ensure that any lingering symptoms are addressed, and no hidden damage is untreated.

Post-Covid Treatment at WellHealth

Although the term “long COVID” may be a catch all for many different ailments, your recovery at WellHealth Is personalized to exactly what you are experiencing and curated to lead you to recovery.

The first step in an initial appointment will be to run specific labs and tests to determine the cause and effect of your symptoms on your health. These tests can help us to pinpoint the exact problem area and move forward in our treatment. For example, a lingering cough could be due to lung damage, or just a persistent infection, both of which would be picked up through an ordered CRP lab. Similarly, a Homocysteine lab could identify whether your symptoms are caused by vitamin deficiency, or cardiovascular damage. These labs and tests are the only way for you and your care team to accurately and effectively treat your symptoms.

Specifically, WellHealth Post-COVID Care includes but is not limited to:

  • Detailed blood work to ensure that your body’s vitamins and minerals are not depleted, no hidden damage is untreated, and your body is not actively fighting an infection or virus
  • Monitoring of your heart and blood vessels, to ensure they are working properly and are not showing signs of inflammation
  • Monitoring of your lungs to ensure they are recovering and functioning normal or close to normal. We also aim to track the improvement over time

Treatments beyond your personal at home care may include supplements, IV therapy, and medical devices engineered to track your health and proactively identify any risks. Whether your symptoms subside or worsen over time, it is best to have a medical history with a provider that has the experience and necessary tools to provide the proper care along the way and support you when necessary.

By Dr. Abdul Ahad Hayee