Scientists have been talking about the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection for a long time. But after suffering a common cold, the exhausting symptoms can also last for many months. How to distinguish one from the other?
The authors of the study, the results of which were published on October 6 in the scientific journal “The Lancet”, are scientists from Queen Mary University of London. They analyzed the data of over 10,000 people who had symptoms indicating possible COVID-19 infection and were tested for this.
As the researchers explained, both among people whose tests confirmed the coronavirus and those who did not detect it, the percentage of patients struggling with long-term symptoms of infection was identical – it was 22%. This shows, as emphasized by Prof. quoted by “The Independent”. Adrian Martineau that the risk of “prolonged” disease in both cases is “very similar”.
“Long Covid” and “long cold” – symptoms
However, the symptoms themselves differ. As researchers explained, people diagnosed with COVID-19 were more likely to struggle with taste and smell disorders and dizziness in the long run. They also experienced heart palpitations, excessive sweating and hair loss.
In turn, those whose coronavirus infection was not detected were more likely to complain of cough and hoarseness for a longer period of time, scientists from Queen Mary University reported. They noted that this discovery is surprising because cough is considered one of the basic symptoms of COVID-19. The study description states that both those infected with coronavirus and those who did not develop SARS-CoV-2 infection often struggled with shortness of breath and chronic fatigue.
Scientists noted that long-term symptoms may occur after a cold, flu or pneumonia. “Our findings suggest that other undiagnosed respiratory infections may have long-term health effects, although we do not yet have evidence that these symptoms last in the same way as long-term COVID-19 disease,” the British researchers concluded in their study description. It also stated that one rule applies to all diseases: the more severe the disease, the greater the risk of long-term symptoms.
The study shows that these symptoms can last for a really long time. In the case of people infected with COVID-19, the record-long period of their occurrence was as much as 64 weeks, in the case of those whose tests did not confirm coronavirus – 37 weeks.
“Long Covid” – treatment
So far, little has been said about long-term symptoms of colds or flu, but “long Covid” has been the subject of research for many months. It is known that severe infection can destroy the lungs. In August, Belgian scientists reported that they had discovered it the cause of long-term damage to this organ in seriously ill patients with COVID-19. They added that they hope to develop new treatments.
“The Lancet”, “Independent”, tvn24.pl
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