Author Topic: Life After COVID-19: A Guide for Patients and Families  (Read 66 times)

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Life After COVID-19: A Guide for Patients and Families
« on: April 28, 2021, 02:00:15 PM »
What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a type of virus called a coronavirus. If you're exposed to the virus, you may get an infection that starts in the upper respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, and throat). COVID-19 is caused by a new (or novel) coronavirus. This means that humans were never exposed to it before and COVID-19 is a new disease.
COVID-19 is thought to be mainly spread by droplets in the air that are formed when someone who's infected talks, coughs, or sneezes. The virus then infects someone else when the droplets enter their mouth, nose, or eyes.

Main Symptoms of COVID-19

Most people have mild or no symptoms. But for others, symptoms can be severe.

Symptoms usually happen 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus and can include:
•   Fever (temperature over 100°F)
•   Chills, sometimes with shaking
•   Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
•   Cough
•   Headache
•   Muscle or body ache
•   Fatigue (tiredness)
•   Sore throat
•   Congestion (stuffy) or runny nose
•   Loss of smell or taste
•   Pain in your abdomen (belly)
•   Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

COVID-19 Doesn't Just Affect Your Lungs

COVID-19 can damage many other body systems and organs, in addition to your lungs. As a result, it can cause many different complications, or additional problems.

These can include:
•   Pneumonia (lungs fill with fluid or pus) or respiratory failure where you lungs stop working
•   Heart, liver, or kidney problems
•   Septic shock, a body-wide infection that leads to dangerously low blood pressure
•   Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). A rare, but serious, condition that can damage the heart, kidneys, and other organs in children and teens
•   Death

What Causes These Complications?

•   It's thought that many of the complications from COVID-19 are caused by a condition called a "cytokine storm." This happens when an outside invader -- such as a virus -- triggers your immune system (your body's natural defense system) and it overreacts.
•   During a normal response, your immune system releases a type and amount of special cells and proteins (cytokines) into your blood. These attack the invader to fight off infection. But sometimes your immune system is unable to limit itself and starts to attack its own cells and tissues instead of just the invader. This can kill healthy tissue and damage your organs. Doctors believe this is what happens during COVID-19.

Possible Long-Term Complications

The damage to your organs caused by COVID-19 may increase your risk for long-term complications and effects on your health, such as problems with:
•   Heart, blood vessels, and kidneys
•   Breathing and how your lungs work
•   Smell and taste
•   Mood, fatigue, and sleep
•   Thinking, concentration, or memory

Recovering From COVID-19

•   Most people will recover from COVID-19 fairly quickly, in a few weeks. But this is a new disease so it's still not known exactly how having COVID-19 can affect you in the long term. This includes complications and symptoms that may remain or come back, and how long they may last.
•   This means that having regular contact and open communication with your doctor is key. It's important be aware of and record any symptoms or problems so you can discuss them.
•   Your doctor will also track how well your organs are working and your overall health. Together, you can work toward your recovery.

Source: Susan L. Smith, MN, PhD
            WebMD Education