For many, crippling fatigue, breathlessness and other issues are continuing for weeks and even months
After recovering from COVID-19, many people have been trying to catch up on work and other pending assignment at a rather aggressive pace. However, they are coming to an agonising realisation that they are unable to keep up with the usual work hours or getting tired a little too easily.
Weakness and breathlessness even after a short walk or some physical activity are some of the common issues experienced by COVID-recovered persons. Apart from a notable depletion of energy levels, a few other post-COVID issues that doctors are coming across include hair loss, fever, muscle pain and sleeplessness.
These issues were not limited to patients who suffered from severe COVID. Even those with mild form of the infection who underwent treatment at home have had the same complaints. The more serious complications include lung fibrosis leading to breathlessness and clots in blood vessels.
Not being able to work or be active for several weeks to months has many people at their wits’ end. Doctors say that they are unable to put a finger on a definite cause for fatigue. Senior consultant physician at KIMS Hospitals, K. Shivaraju said they found this issue even among people who did not have hypothyroidism or high sugar levels.
“We suggest people experiencing fatigue not to strain themselves but to take adequate nutrition as well as some muscle strengthening tablets. Those will give some relief,” he says, adding that recovery will be slow.
People have also complained of loss of smell and altered taste, which lasted for several weeks. “Doctors have to be consulted when they experience these issues. Some have consulted me after undergoing unnecessary tests. This can be avoided if people rely on their doctor’s suggestion,” he explains.
Lung fibrosis is one of the reasons for shortness of breath in some people. When lung tissues get scarred or hard, breathing becomes difficult.
Professor of Pulmonology at Government General and Chest Hospital, M. Narender said that it cannot be determined which COVID patient might develop lung fibrosis. Even people with mild symptoms might develop it, depending on certain conditions.
“Drop in oxygen saturation levels and breathlessness even after a short walk or increased rate of respiration are some of the symptoms of lung fibrosis. One should consult a doctor if they have such symptoms. The treatment, and its duration, depend on the severity of the disease,” he asserts.
Professor of Pulmnology at ESIC Medical College, K. Surendar Reddy says he treated some post-COVID patients whose oxygen saturation levels dropped to 85 or below. “The oxygen saturation levels of 92-94 has to be considered as an alarm bell to consult doctors. If a patient needs only oxygen, we suggest oxygen treatment at home. But this varies from case to case and can be decided only after a doctor goes through a patient’s details and disease history,” he adds.
Lung fibrosis leads to drop in oxygen saturation levels. So, when a person with COVID indulges in intense exercises or exerts pressure on body, it might lead to complications. “As various organs in the body might not be getting required oxygen, the organs might get affected,” says Dr Narender.
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