Covid-19 did not appear until the end of 2019, but there are already signs that it may take a while for some patients to regain full health.
The recovery time will depend on how you get sick in the first place. Some people will quickly ignore the disease, but for others, it could leave lasting problems.
Age, gender and other health conditions increase the risk of becoming more seriously ill due to Covid-19.
The more invasive and longer the treatment you receive, the more likely recovery will take.
What if I only have mild symptoms?
Most people who receive Covid-19 will only develop the main symptoms – a cough or fever. But they could suffer from body aches, fatigue, sore throat and headache.
The cough is initially dry, but some people will eventually spit out mucus containing dead lung cells killed by the virus.
These symptoms are treated with bed rest, plenty of fluids, and pain relief like paracetamol.
People with mild symptoms should recover quickly and properly.
The fever should settle in less than a week, although the cough may persist. A World Health Organization (WHO) analysis of Chinese data indicates that it takes an average of two weeks to recover.
What if I have more severe symptoms?
The disease can become much more serious for some. This tends to happen about seven to 10 days after infection.
The transformation can be sudden. Breathing becomes difficult and the lungs become inflamed. Indeed, although the body’s immune system tries to fight back, it overreacts and the body suffers collateral damage.
Some people will need to be hospitalized for oxygen therapy.
GP Sarah Jarvis says, “Shortness of breath can take a while to improve … the body overcomes scarring and inflammation. “
She says it could take two to eight weeks to recover, with persistent fatigue.
What if I need intensive care?
The WHO estimates that one in 20 people will need intensive care treatment, which may include sedation and ventilating.
It will take time to recover from any fate in an intensive or critical care unit (ICU), regardless of illness. Patients are transferred to a regular ward before returning home.
Dr. Alison Pittard, dean of the faculty of intensive care medicine, says it can take 12 to 18 months to return to normal after any stay in intensive care.
Spending a long time in a hospital bed results in loss of muscle mass. Patients will be weak and the muscles will take time to rebuild. Some people will need physiotherapy to walk again.
Because of what the body goes through in intensive care, there is also the possibility of delirium and psychological disturbances.
“There seems to be an additional component to this disease – viral fatigue is certainly a huge factor,” says Paul Twose, critical care physiotherapist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
China and Italy have reported weakness of the whole body, shortness of breath after any level of exertion, persistent cough and irregular breathing. In addition to needing a lot of sleep.
“We know that patients take a long time, if not months, to recover. “
But it is difficult to generalize. Some people spend relatively short periods in intensive care, while others are ventilated for weeks.
Will Coronavirus Affect My Long-Term Health?
We are not sure because there is no long-term data, but we can look at other conditions.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (called Ards) develops in patients whose immune systems become overloaded, causing damage to the lungs.
“There is very good evidence that, even five years later, people can have ongoing physical and psychological difficulties,” said Mr. Twose.
Dr. James Gill, a general practitioner and teacher at Warwick Medical School, says people also need mental health support to improve their recovery.
“You have trouble breathing, then the doctor says,” We have to put you on ventilation. We have to put you to sleep. Do you want to say goodbye to your family? “.
“PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] in these most severe patients is not surprising. There will be significant psychological scars for many. “
There remains the possibility that even some mild cases can leave patients with long-term health problems – such as fatigue.
How many people have recovered?
It is difficult to get a precise figure.
As of April 15, Johns Hopkins University reported that approximately 500,000 people have recovered from two million people infected.
But countries use different recording methods. Some do not publish recovery figures and many mild infections will be missed.
Mathematical models have estimated that 99 to 99.5% of people recover.
Can I catch Covid-19 again?
There has been much speculation, but little evidence, about the sustainability of an immunity. If patients have successfully fought the virus, they must have developed an immune response.
Reports from twice infected patients may be due to tests incorrectly recording that they were free from the virus.
The question of immunity is vital to understanding whether people can be re-infected and how effective a vaccine is.
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