It’s well known that coronavirus affects a person’s lungs but what is not known is how long this damage will last. According to a new survey from a lung specialist, it could take a long time.
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According to a survey carried out in the Netherlands, some mild COVID-19 patients appear to recover less quickly.
The union for Dutch lung and tuberculosis specialists NVALT surveyed 100 doctors and found that many have reported seeing patients with continuing problems after a mild coronavirus infection.
Chairman of NVALT, Leon van den Toorn said: “We are surprised by the large numbers of ex-COVID-19 patients coming to us with problems now.
“We see that most of the patients complain of persistent laboured breathing and problems with exerting themselves, although the abnormalities on their lung scans are quite minor.
“It is possible that the immune system is less tanked up, so fewer antibodies are released, and the recovery is slower.”
It was added that major lung damage is rarely visible in COVID-19 patients, however, long-term monitoring is still needed.
It was reported earlier this year that even patients suffering with mild symptoms of coronavirus could be sick for months.
For those with severe cases, recovery was reported to take six weeks or more with lasting damage to the heart, kidneys, lungs and brain.
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Some patients with an infection may develop pneumonia, a lung infection, if the virus makes its way to the lungs said John Hopkins Medicine.
It continued: “If you have pneumonia, the air sacs in the lungs fill up with fluid, which impairs the lungs’ ability to transfer oxygen and results in difficulty breathing.
“Viral pneumonia, such as from COVID-19, cannot be treated with antibiotics.
“In severe cases, ventilator support may be needed to ensure sufficient oxygen circulation in the body.”
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Most people who are infected with coronavirus will develop only the main symptoms which include a cough or fever.
However other symptoms may arise including body aches, fatigue, sore throat and a headache.
The cough has been described as initially dry, but some patients will eventually start coughing up mucus containing dead lung cells killed by the virus.
A world Health Organisation (WHO) analysis of Chinese data says it takes two weeks on average to recover but could be longer.
The WHO estimates one person in 20 will need intensive care treatment including needing a ventilator.
Dr Alison Pittard, Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine says it can take 12 to 18 months to get back to normal after a patient has been in critical care for COVID-19.
It takes time to recover any spell in an intensive care unit no matter what the illness it was noted but medical professionals are now seeing a battle of recovery even in cases with mild symptoms.
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