Post-COVID Complications Emerges as Silent Killer

Juthika Baruah

The post-COVID complications have emerged as a silent killer in the state as well as in other parts of the country. The COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the disease are now grappling with complications and unable to get treatment due to the absence of any dedicated post-COVID Care Centers.

Moreover, the families of the infected persons are also in a hurry to take back their recovered patients to home thinking that they have recovered fully once they tested negative of the virus.

Assam too witnesses many deaths of post-COVID complications and the recent deaths of Homen Borgohain and Lakhminandan Bora have also caused due to post-COVID complications.

Speaking to Pratidin Time Digital Desk, Dr. Navanil Barua, Senior Neurosurgeon in Guwahati said that post-COVID complications are a risk factor for the people. “People have to be more careful although they test negative for COVID-19. Dry coughs, weakness, breathing problems etc. post-recovery are the symptoms one developed even after 1-2 months after testing negative. People may also develop a severe headache, pneumonia, mental stress for which post-covid complications are at a risk,” Dr. Barua added.

Dr. Barua further stated that early diagnosis of COVID-19 may prevent post complications. “People should go for diagnosis at the very early stage of they see any symptoms. People with high blood pressure, kidney problems, cancer, HIV are at high risk and therefore they should go for proper diagnosis,” he added.

In order to prevent the COVID complications, people should take healthy diets and include protein foods like fresh vegetables, fruits etc to recover from the disease at the earliest.

Several people, including those who recovered in home isolation, reportedly developed critical complications after recovery. Fibrosis of lunges, cardiac arrest, renal failure, neurological problems and diabetes are among the most common complications observed, said doctors.

Mucormycosis, a fungal infection, too has added to the woes of people who have recovered from the disease. Two persons died of the disease in Assam after detecting with black fungus.

“Those who recover return to their normal lives and often ignore symptoms of post-COVID-19 complications, which may prove fatal in the long run,” Dr. Barua informed.

Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Principal, Dr. Achyut Chandra Baishya also informed that the family members of the COVID patients remain enthusiastic to take back their patients home once they recovered from COVID-19. “The patients develop complications while at home as they do not follow the protocols and stay according to them and they rushed to hospital at the last stage at which doctors have nothing left in their hands for which they succumbed to the disease,” Dr. Baishya added.

A significant proportion of deaths that occurred during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bengaluru occurred around 10 days after hospitalization, data has revealed.

Another cause revealed after COVID recovery is blood clots which is a serious concern. If it is untreated, they can cause damage to your brain, heart and lungs. Death or long-term complications are a real concern.

While the health care community is still learning the ways COVID-19 attacks the body, it appears that a few factors are causing the increased risk of clots, said Matthew Exline, MD, medical director of the medical intensive care unit at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Blood clotting factors 

First, COVID-19 can cause severe inflammation, which can trigger your clotting system. 

“When you, say, fall and skin your knee, it turns your immune system on, and one of the ways your immune system reacts to an injury is by making your clotting system more active,” Exline said. “It kind of makes sense that your body would say, if I see an infection, I need to be ready to clot. But when the infection is as widespread and inflammatory as COVID-19, that tendency to clot can become dangerous.” 

And when you’re sick with COVID-19 or following stay-at-home or quarantine orders, you probably aren’t moving much.

“If you’re immobile, you have an increased risk factor for blood clots,” Exline said. 

Paired together, inflammation and immobility create a near-perfect environment for blood clots in your legs and lungs, Exline said. Patients with severe cases of COVID-19 seem especially susceptible, as do those with other health risk factors such as cancer, obesity, and a history of blood clots.

As many as 734 deaths of the 1,855 Covid-related deaths or nearly 40 percent of the fatalities reported between May 28 and June 3 occurred 10 or more days after hospitalization or at the homes of patients, according to official data for Covid-19 cases and deaths from the Karnataka Health Department.

This is in sharp contrast to the first wave of the pandemic when a majority of deaths — nearly 60 percent — were reported to have occurred within one to three days of hospitalization.

The data seems to reflect another feature of the second wave in Karnataka — many patients developed complications due to the virus and succumbed to them 10 days after their treatment when they were supposed to be on the mend.

As per recent data, people infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus) may experience mild symptoms or completely asymptomatic. How long the coronavirus lasts in the body depends upon person to person, exposure to the virus and severity of infection.

As per WHO generally people will take an incubation period of 10 to 14 days to recover fully, and sometimes more. Mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 will recover in about 14 days. Sometimes COVID-19 symptoms can remain for more than 20 days up to 45 days. Due to the long-term effect of coronavirus, patients can develop post-COVID complications.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can damage the lungs, brain, blood vessels, skin, nerves, kidney and heart, which increases the risk of long term health issues. However, the virus may remain in the body up to 3 months after diagnosis. This may mean some people get a second positive test result even after they recover, although this does not necessarily indicate the virus is still transmissible.

What is Post Covid Syndrome or Long Covid?

Most people infected with COVID-19 get better within 10 days of illness. People, when continue to experience mild symptoms, post covid recovery called Post Covid Syndrome or Long Covid, these people may experience post-COVID conditions and also develop long-term complications that affect the organs.

Post COVID complications are a broad range of new, ongoing or returning health conditions, people can experience more than 28 days / 4 weeks after first being infected with the coronavirus.

Even asymptomatic people who did not have symptoms when they were infected can have to post COVID complications. These complications can have different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time.

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