Most people who contract COVID-19 make a full recovery. However, there is increasing evidence that a significant minority suffer effects more than three weeks after showing signs of the illness. These include fatigue, headache, cough, loss of smell, sore throat, delirium and chest pain.
Data from the UK COVID-19 Symptom Study, which has been collecting information from nearly four million users, suggests that 10% of people are still having symptoms or lasting effects three weeks after showing signs of the illness, with some suffering for months.
To explore the range of effects of so-called ‘long COVID’ on patients, as well as other health issues emerging after lockdown, C+D clinical editor Naimah Callachand spoke to four medical experts in a webinar that was first broadcast virtually at The Clinical Pharmacy Congress on September 24.
“Tidal wave” of mental health issues
Harpreet Chana, pharmacist and founder of training company The Mental Wealth Academy, said: “I don't want to scare anyone…but I’m being very serious when I say, make no bones about it, we have a tidal wave of mental health issues that are about to hit us.”
Garry McDonald, respiratory pharmacist consultant at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, said: “I’m really worried about the future now – especially coming to the end of 2020 with the flu season on the horizon…[Pharmacy has] taken a licking, I just hope we can keep on ticking.”
Oksana Pyzik, the lead on an infectious diseases programme at University College London’s School of Pharmacy, said: “What we are seeing is that there is an increase…of young people who are not only presenting who are infectious, but who actually do develop symptoms as well.”
Tom Cooper, lead cardiology pharmacist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, raised concerns about the increased risk of general cardiac injury among patients suffering the long-term effects of COVID-19.
You can listen to highlights from the webinar in the podcast below. Alternatively, subscribe to C+D's podcasts on iTunes or by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred Android podcast app.
Please note that sound quality may be affected, as this podcast was recorded remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read C+D’s CPD article on support for patients living with ‘long COVID'