Long COVID: common symptoms and how to manage them

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 28 Apr 2024

Long COVID: common symptoms and how to manage them

While some individuals may fully recover from COVID-19, others may endure prolonged symptoms or experience significant changes to their physical health. This is commonly referred to as ‘long COVID’, and this condition continues to impact many people well beyond their initial recovery.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a greater awareness of this condition due to its medium to long-term effects. In fact, WHO discovered that 10 to 20% of individuals who have experienced COVID-19 have increased chances of developing long COVID. Additionally, data shows that this condition can develop regardless of the individual’s age, level of fitness, or COVID-19 variant contracted.

It is important to understand long COVID and explore strategies for managing this condition.

What is ‘long COVID’, and what are its symptoms?

Long COVID, also referred to as post-COVID-19 condition, is characterised by the persistence of a range of symptoms for months following the initial recovery from COVID-19 infection. These symptoms may vary widely. However, according to the Official Journal of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, the most common symptoms that appeared in those who were affected by long COVID were a persistent cough, nasal congestion, and fatigue. If you are familiar with these symptoms please seek medical attention.

How long does it usually take to recover from long COVID?

The duration of long COVID can vary significantly among individuals. While some recover within a few weeks or months, others may experience symptoms for a year or longer. Factors such as the severity of the initial infection, overall health, and age can influence how long the symptoms last.

How are symptoms of long COVID managed?

Here are some strategies that could help with long COVID symptom management:

1. Medical interventions

Consulting with a private doctor in Singapore is a critical first step for those grappling with persistent symptoms of long COVID. A healthcare professional can devise a personalised care plan tailored to manage specific symptoms, such as pain, respiratory difficulties, or other complications. Medications may also be prescribed to address these symptoms.

2. Mental health support

Due to the prolonged nature of long COVID, it can lead to significant mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression. It’s important for patients to have access to psychological support during this trying time. Many private clinics in Singapore offer mental health services specifically designed to support individuals coping with chronic conditions. These services provide a safe space for patients to discuss their experiences and receive professional guidance to manage stress and emotional distress.

3. Nutritional support

A balanced diet is fundamental to managing long COVID, as proper nutrition supports immune function and overall health. Nutritional advice typically includes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which provide essential nutrients and energy.

4. Regular monitoring and adjustments

Since long COVID symptoms can fluctuate and change over time, regular monitoring by healthcare professionals is advised. This allows for adjustments in care plans as symptoms evolve or improve. Regular check-ins with a doctor can help track progress and make necessary changes to the management strategy, ensuring that the approach remains effective and responsive to the patient’s current needs. Should meeting with your GP at a private clinic be difficult, telemedicine consultations offer a convenient option, allowing you to talk with your doctor from the comfort of your home.

Minimise the risk of long COVID by staying up to date with your vaccinations

One way to potentially reduce your risk of contracting COVID and experiencing long COVID is by getting vaccinated. Vaccines have been reported to decrease the likelihood of severe infection, which in turn reduces the chance of developing persistent COVID-19 symptoms. Therefore, keeping current with the recommended vaccine schedule is crucial, as it not only protects you but also reduces the strain on healthcare resources.

For more health tips, check out our guides on how to manage chronic stress and the importance of preventive care.

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