New research has found that the symptoms of COVID19, which have been felt by people in the first week of infection, might be able to predict the risk of Long COVID. Experts have said that people who have experienced more than five symptoms of the disease in the first week of infection are at a higher risk of becoming COVID19 long haulers, which has been qualified by the experts as feeling signs of the disease for more than 28 days. The findings of the study have been released in the peer-reviewed journal called Nature Medicine. Experts have said that fatigue, headache, hoarse voice, muscle pain, and breathing issues are the five symptoms of the disease, which are prevalent in the first week of infection, are prognostic of becoming a long hauler. This study has been done by experts from King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston Children Hospital. They have asked people with COVID19 to report their signs via a smartphone from March to September 2020. More than 4000 participants have been enrolled in the study. Out of 4000 people, nearly 13 percent of them have said that they have been dealing with symptoms of the disease for more than 28 days. Around 4 percent of patients have said that they have experienced these symptoms for more than eight weeks and 2 percent of them have said that their symptoms have lasted for more than 12 weeks.
The co-author of the study, Christina Astley, has said that a third of patients who have been dealing with symptoms for more than four weeks will deal with symptoms at 8 weeks and a third of them will have symptoms at 12 weeks. She has said that on average, 1 in 20 people, who have been diagnosed with COVID19, will be dealing with symptoms of the disease lasting for more than 8 weeks. The risk of having lasting symptoms has been linked to increasing age. The risk rises from 9.9 percent of people in the age range of 18 to 49 years to 21.9 percent in people who are above 70 years, said the experts. Loss of smell, which is known as Anosmia has been the most common symptom among elderly people. The study has noted that women are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with long COVID19 as compared to men. Around 14.9 percent of women who have been included in the study have said that they have been having symptoms of the disease for more than 28 days after the initial infection. Only 9.5 percent of men have reported having symptoms lasting for 28 days. Dr. Michael Wechsler, who is a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health, has said that people at any age can be diagnosed with long COVID. However, it is more common among young people who are relatively healthy and are not used to such symptoms.
The study has found two major patterns among the volunteers. One set of people who have been identified as COVID19 long haulers has reported having symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and upper respiratory issues such as breathing problems, sore throat, cough, and anosmia. On the other hand, the other group of COVID19 long haulers has been dealing with persistent multi-system issues such as fever or gastrointestinal symptoms. Dr. Michael Wechsler has found a wide range of symptoms in the clinic, which contribute to long COVID. Similar clinics have surfaced in the hospitals in the country to accommodate the increasing number of COVID19 patients who have been dealing with symptoms for months after recovery. Dr. Michael Wechsler has said that long COVID can be diagnosed in a large proportion of people and it has a wide range of symptoms. The findings of the study have come after Dr. Anthony Fauci has declared that the government is going to launch large-scale research to study long COVID. A past study that has been released in JAMA Network Open has revealed that around 30 percent of people who have been diagnosed with COVID19 have been dealing with lasting symptoms nine months after recovery. Experts have said the new findings will lay the foundation for government-funded research.