WHAT “RECOVERY” LOOKS LIKE FOR COVID-19 SURVIVORS
COVID-19’s immediate strike on the body is immense. It targets the lungs, but a lack of oxygen and extensive inflammation can also damage the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, and other organs. It varies and behaves so differently for many patients. In fact, innumerable seriously ill coronavirus patients who survived are reported to have experienced and are actually still experiencing a wide array of lingering residual symptoms. Thus, for some, getting back to “normal” may demand some extensive health support.
These are, but some of the on and off post COVID-19 symptoms experienced by survivors:
- Shortness of Breath
- Muscle Weakness
- Neurological Issues
- Mental Fogginess
- Inability to Concentrate
COVID-19 AFTERCARE STUDIES AND FACILITIES
Small to large-scale studies and facilities have emerged to track the long-term health of survivors. In point of fact, a study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to understand possible long-term health effects of the coronavirus. It aims to know the epidemiology of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients and their recovery.
Mount Sinai Health System, a hospital network in New York City, has put up a Center for Post-COVID Care. The facility aims to bring together a team from a wide range of specialties to address the issues of COVID-19 aftercare.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH IMPLICATIONS
Dr. Zijian Chen, MD, the medical director of the new Center for Post-COVID Care at Mount Sinai Health System, stated that the most crucial problem the center was seeing was shortness of breath, which can be due to lung or heart impairments or a blood-clotting problem.
Dr. Dale Needham, M.D., Ph.D., the medical director of Critical Care Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Program and the director of the Outcomes After Critical Illness and Surgery (OACIS) Group at Johns Hopkins, said that numerous patients have also been experiencing muscle weakness; thus having trouble doing basic body movements.
Besides physical health issues, COVID-19 survivors are going through mental health struggles. Dr. Lauren Ferrante, MD, MHS, a Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine physician at the Yale School of Medicine, said that it’s common for COVID-19 survivor patients to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the experience have brought them distress and disturbance.
It’s actually too early to say what lasting disabilities COVID-19 survivors will face, but it already gives us the thought that beating the initial sickness may be just the first of many battles for those who have survived.
It may not be “life as usual” for COVID-19 survivors but retaining a positive mindset despite these circumstances can help boost one’s immunity.
On the lighter side, recovery fluctuations are normal and it varies from person to person. Have every physical, mental, and emotional medications and support that you can and go for it one step at a time. Small progress is still progress!