Long Covid: A ‘productive cough’ is a possible sign – NHS advice on controlling it

Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children

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The Cleveland Clinic explains a productive cough, or a wet cough, is a cough that brings up mucus or phlegm. The NHS says: “It is important to realise everyone produces sputum as part of the body’s normal defence mechanisms. It’s how the lungs and airways keep themselves clear and clean.”

The health body adds: “You may find your chest remains productive with phlegm following an infection with Covid.

“Your breathing may be noisier than normal, and you may be short of breath following a chest infection.”

The NHS suggests that people follow breathing exercises to help you to effectively and efficiently clear your phlegm.

Nonetheless, it notes that it is important not to force clearance and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to rest during and after.

It adds: “If your cough is ongoing and you did not require hospitalisation during your Covid infection you should seek advice from your GP.”

Asthma and Lung UK explains: “While recovering from coronavirus, you may find that you need to clear your lungs quite a lot. You might have a wet cough, which produces sputum.

“You might also find that your breathing is noisier than usual and, if you’ve had a chest infection, that you become short of breath fairly easily.”

It adds: “Most people will make a full recovery from coronavirus. However, living with the after-effects can cause more longer-term complications for some people, many of which involve the lungs.”

The Mayo Clinic says other signs can include

  • Memory issues
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Dizziness when you stand
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “Everyone’s experience is different, so it’s important to chat to your GP about the symptoms you are experiencing.

“They can tell you how to best manage them, and let you know what other support is available.”

The Mayo Clinic says: “Although COVID-19 is seen as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can also damage many other organs, including the heart, kidneys and the brain.

“Organ damage may lead to health complications that linger after COVID-19 illness.

“In some people, lasting health effects may include long-term breathing problems, heart complications, chronic kidney impairment, stroke and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis.”

It notes that some adults and children experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome after they have had COVID-19.

The organisation explains much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time, but research is ongoing.

It says: “Researchers recommend that doctors closely monitor people who have had COVID-19 to see how their organs are functioning after recovery.”

The BHF says long Covid clinics are being rolled out across England and have started in Wales to help those struggling with ongoing symptoms.

It says: “Speak to your GP or healthcare professional to find out if you are being referred.”

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