Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children
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The Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) says: “People with post-Covid conditions can have a wide range of symptoms that can last more than four weeks or even months after infection. Sometimes the symptoms can even go away or come back again.” It says “changes in menstrual cycles” are possible.
A report published in the BMJ says primary care clinicians and those working in reproductive health are increasingly approached by people who have experienced “changes to periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding” shortly after vaccination.
It states: “More than 30,000 reports of these events had been made to MHRA’s yellow card surveillance scheme for adverse drug reactions by 2 September 2021, across all COVID-19 vaccines currently offered.”
It adds: “Most people who report a change to their period after vaccination find that it returns to normal the following cycle and, importantly, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility.”
Indeed, the NHS says: “There’s no evidence the COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There’s no need to avoid getting pregnant after being vaccinated.”
The NHS notes that how long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody, but many people feel better in a few days or weeks.
The health body explains that the chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19, as “people who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems”.
The Mayo Clinic says there are a number of other common signs and symptoms that linger over time.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Memory, concentration or sleep problems
- Muscle pain or headache
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Loss of smell or taste
- Depression or anxiety
- Dizziness when you stand
- Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says the ONS estimates that 1.3 million people in the UK were experiencing long Covid symptoms as of 2 January 2022. This was defined as symptoms that had lasted more than four weeks from the initial infection.
It notes this amounts to just over one in 50 of the population.
The charity states: “We are still learning how long the illness lasts and it varies between people.
“It’s important to note that lasting effects aren’t unique to COVID-19 – other viral illnesses can also have lasting effects.”
The BHF adds: “There isn’t one single test to diagnose long Covid. It’s a condition that isn’t fully understood yet.
“Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing lasting long Covid symptoms. They may refer you for tests to help understand how long Covid is affecting you and how it can be treated. Or it may even be that there is another cause for your symptoms.”
The NHS says in December 2020, NHS England announced the launch of post-Covid clinics.
The health body says: “The clinics bring together a wide range of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer both physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs assessments.”
The CDC says: “People with post-COVID conditions may develop or continue to have symptoms that are hard to explain and manage.
“Clinical evaluations and results of routine blood tests, chest x-rays, and electrocardiograms may be normal.”
The CDC says the best way to prevent post-Covid conditions is to protect yourself and others from becoming infected.
It notes: “For people who are eligible, getting vaccinated and staying up to date with vaccines against COVID-19 can help prevent COVID-19 infection and protect against severe illness.”
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