And after Covid-19? Possible sequels range from fatigue to brain damage

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Because it is a new virus, it is impossible to know what long-term effects will result from an SARS-CoV-2 infection. But the scientific community suggests possible consequences ranging from fatigue to brain damage after weeks or even months.

A person with Covid-19 can either suffer a serious illness that can lead to death or be infected but not show any symptoms. In both cases, the question remains – what sequels could the future bring?

Consequences of intensive care

Medical discharge is just the beginning of a long recovery process for people who have been hit particularly hard by the disease and have therefore gone through intensive care.

Once Covid-19 is passed, these patients may need physical therapy to raise their arms and legs again, sit unsupported, walk, or even speak and swallow.

Post-viral fatigue

Many patients who have remained infected with the new coronavirus over a long period of time have reported feeling fatigue, muscle pain and difficulty concentrating. Researchers are trying to establish whether they can be symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, a sequel associated, for example, with infection by the Epstein-Barr virus or Q fever, caused by a bacterium that often affects the respiratory system.

Studies indicate that about a third of people infected during the SARS outbreak in 2003 also reported feeling a reduced tolerance for exercise for several months after recovery, even though their lungs appeared to be healthy.

Damage to various organs

Difficulty breathing, coughing or a fast pulse may be indicative of tissue damage to various organs in patients recovered from Covid-19. Long-term problems in the lungs and heart are the most frequent, in some patients there has also been damage to the liver and skin.

It is not yet possible to determine unequivocally whether these damages are permanent. A group of doctors at the University Clinic of Internal Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria, saw improvements or even full recovery in 86 patients affected by injuries or fluid in the lungs. “There are some signs of reversible damage,” said Thomas Sonnweber, co-author of the study published on the ClinicalTrials.gov platform of the United States National Library of Medicine.



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