Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Monday said patients who had recovered from COVID19 infection persist with symptoms weeks to months after recovery.
“The patients continue to experience symptoms even after beating the infection,” DAK President and influenza expert, Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan said in a statement.
“Many recovered COVID19 patients return to us with a wide array of lingering symptoms like fatigue, body ache, tiredness, lethargy, headache, shortness of breath, cough, chills or sweat,” he said.
The DAK president said some patients complain of memory loss, difficulty in concentration and sleep disturbances.
“Simple physical activities like getting out of bed, grooming, preparing simple meals and taking a shower are exhausting for some,” he said.
Dr Hassan said weeks to months after recovery, many patients come back to them saying that they still do not feel well enough to return to work.
He said that the patients report that it had become harder for them to get back to regular activity like doing exercises.
Dr Hassan said the persistence of symptoms was seen in all age groups, but particularly reported by elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
“While these lasting symptoms are seen more in severe cases, many people with mild illness also complain of these symptoms,” he said. “A similar trend has been noticed at other places where doctors are witnessing recovered patients coming back with lingering symptoms months after the acute phase of illness.”
The DAK president said the more worrying pattern which they were seeing in some recovered patients was scarring of lungs after the patients recover.
“Such complications can cause fibrosis leading to permanent damage to lungs,” he said.
Dr Hassan said imaging tests taken months after recovery from COVID19 had shown lasting damage to the heart muscle even among people who had only mild disease.
“COVID19 virus is behaving differently from other viruses. Normally in a viral infection you bounce back within 10 days. But COVID19 has long-lasting effects,” the DAK president said.
He said there was an urgent need to set up post-COVID clinics at Kashmir hospitals to address the issue of persisting symptoms now called post-COVID syndrome.
“The clinics will address the needs of the rising number of patients who have recovered from COVID19 but are suffering from long-term persistent effects of the infection,” he said.