A large chunk of the long COVID puzzle still remains unexplained, as millions experience the after-effects of the infections even months or years later.
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At least of the people who were infected by the coronavirus never showed any symptoms. Then there’s the other end of the spectrum, the so-called “long haulers” of COVID-19. These individuals continued to experience “long COVID,” “signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after initial COVID-19 infection.”
People with long COVID experience extreme fatigue, pain, or “brain fog,” described as feeling fuzzy, under the weather, or a lack of concentration — lasting up to months or years after the initial infection in some cases.
Even if the virus no longer has the world in alarm, we are still in the early stages of understanding why it continues to keep some sick. The condition has been associated with over 200 symptoms, and scientists are now looking into the genes to find answers for these .
Details: A recent study published in collected data from 6,500 long COVID patients to determine whether specific genes could lead to more severe infection and a greater risk of long-term complications.
The most common disabling symptoms of long COVID have been recognized as brain-related, and while SARS-CoV-2 may be a relatively new virus, post-acute infection syndromes (PAISs) are not. The fact that even if a patient’s health is meant to improve over time, the symptoms may never go away completely poses becomes a literal brain teaser.
Nearing four years since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have yet to know the full scope of the damage it dealt — and the deaths that are almost certainly a gross undercount that show much of the world lacks the resources to deal with the condition.
While we are yet to know the scale of the pandemic, one fact has been made abundantly clear: a COVID infection can mean long-term implications for a large chunk of the population.
Some viruses can persist for a long time inside our bodies, and researchers suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is one of this breed. Such viral persistence often occurs in the so-called “sanctuary tissues” — certain body parts that immune cells aren’t surveilling as actively as the rest of the body.
With at least 65 million people (likely growing) worldwide estimated to have long COVID, characterization of the condition and understanding risk factors take precedence.
Affecting multiple organ systems, the most serious sequelae symptoms include:
But the most common symptoms that have emerged as a result of long COVID seem to be of the neurological kind, with the term “brain fog” becoming the quiet sensation making people question whether they’re one of the victims.
Grasping the reasons behind neurological manifestations is hard to understand when your knowledge of both the condition and the resulting symptoms themselves remains fleeting.
Brain fog isn’t a term easy to define. Is it the inability to think with a clear head, feeling sluggish like you’ve just had pasta as your afternoon meal, feeling overwhelmed with work, or simply can’t remember the minutiae of the day.
Brain fog isn’t expected to get worse over time, and may even go away by itself in a few weeks. Keeping track of your symptoms and noting any changes can help you better understand your position, and whether you require medical expertise.
The approach to healing brain fog is a largely unexplored area, with many of the fixes described as holistic or spiritual. We are, however, moving in a pharmacological direction where people experiencing debilitating symptoms can choose a pill as the fix.