‘Long COVID a major cause of concern’

Director of AIIMS-Delhi addresses virtual session, talks about vaccines and second wave

Long COVID symptoms could be a challenge which needs to be focused on, said Randeep Guleria, director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-New Delhi.

Fatigue, dyspnea (shortness of breath), joint pains, persistent cough and chest pain were listed as some of the common symptoms of long COVID (a term that basically means persistence of symptoms even after recovery). Some people might suffer from extensive lung damage, stroke or myocardial damage, and need long-term rehabilitation.

Delivering the keynote address at a virtual session on ‘COVID-19: Lessons learnt and future strategies’ organised by Telangana State Medical Council on Tuesday, Dr Guleria spoke about vaccines, genome sequencing and reasons for second wave among other topics.

Speaking further about long-COVID, he said that it is becoming a major cause of concern. Recovery from fatigue is a slow process which needs planning, prioritisation and pacing: plan work, pace it, and prioritise so that one can return to normalcy slowly. People were suggested not to get back to normal life aggressively.

“Sleep hygiene is important. Some patients would need physiotherapy, rehabilitation such as deep breathing exercise, smoking cessation, dietary changes,” the AIIMS director said who added observations about Mucormycosis.

He also said that mass gatherings and new Delta variant fuelled the second wave in India, and COVID management has to be aggressive since India has the second highest number of cases. Regarding vaccines, he said that future vaccines may need to be tweaked in order to provide potent protection against variants.

Chairman of AIG Hospitals D. Nageshwar Reddy also spoke about managing long-COVID, the ongoing research work to know how long antibodies against coronavirus can last among people who are vaccinated, and weekly meetings to take stock of effective COVID management strategies.

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