Mild Covid side effects: Common long Covid symptoms to watch out for
Experiencing mild Covid symptoms? You may recover in no time, but here are some of the long Covid complications that can continue to trouble you for long.
Covid-19 infections caused by Omicron strain is mostly causing mild symptoms like cough, cold, sore throat, fever, weakness, back pain and headache nowadays and many people may not be following Covid-appropriate behaviour like social distancing, washing hands or wearing masks thinking Covid is now a lot like flu and is no longer a threat. But experts say one should not undermine Covid infection as even those with mild infections are at risk of developing serious long covid complications days, months or even years later. (Also read: Post Covid mental illnesses on rise: How to spot symptoms; treatment options)
"Most of the Covid-19 infections now are mild to moderate and self limiting within 5-7 days of self isolation and home management. The Omicron strain causes mild symptoms which are flu-like comprising of cough, cold, sore throat, fever, muscle pain, weakness, back pain and headache. But the people should not undermine this infection, especially the senior citizens with other co-existing health conditions who are at a higher risk of developing long term complications," says Dr Charu Dutt Arora, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Head, Ameri Health, Asian Hospital.
"Even asymptomatic people who did not have symptoms when they were infected can have post Covid complications.
These complications can have different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time," says Dr Santosh Jha, Med sup., Consultant Pulmonologist, Porvoo Transition Care.
What are the common long mild Covid symptoms?
According to Dr Jha, the mild post covid symptoms can include body pain, joints pain or headache, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), mild fever, fatigue, feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, coughing or chest pain, new onset diabetes, inability to focus or difficulty thinking or a lack of mental clarity (brain fog), rapid or fast heartbeat (heart palpitations), insomnia, anxiety disorder or depression and dizziness or lightheadedness.
Some of the common long Covid symptoms and complications as per Dr Arora are:
Distorted smell and senses: It is documented worldwide that even mild symptoms convert into long term distortion of smell and taste. Patients can have persisted issues of smell disorder that can result in mood issues, anxiety, appetite problems and other drastic effects.
Brain fogging: Even patients who suffer from mild to moderate self limiting illness can have confusion, decreased attention span, impaired memory and mental fogging for a long time.
Weakness: Covid-19 inflammation leads to severe weakness and issues such as muscle pain and back pain for 6-9 months post recovery.
Cardio-respiratory issues: Long term complications such as shortness of breath, decreased lung capacity, early tiredness, sweating and chest pain are well known in old aged patients.
Hair fall: One of the most devastating and psychologically traumatising complications include hair fall. This is seen in middle aged women during their post Covid period.
"With these documented complications, it is imperative to understand that mild Covid is not "flu" and should be treated well under supervision of the Covid expert physician during the acute period," says Dr Arora.
Long Covid syndrome in patients with mild symptoms: Precautions to follow
To prevent such complications, here are precautions for patients suffering from mild Covid, suggested by Dr Jha.
1. Maintain adequate hydration
2. Maintain adequate nutrition: Include fibres, proteins and multivitamins in daily diet. Have more fruits and juices. Try to have a balanced diet.
3. Regular exercises are recommended but exertion should be avoided. So one should gradually increase exercises. Cardio respiratory and breathing exercises are recommended for fast recovery.
4. Adequate rest and proper sleep is very important during post covid phase.
5. Visit your physician or pulmonologist for relevant investigations and evaluations.
6. Consult a psychiatrist for problems like anxiety, nightmares or stress disorders.