Long COVID-19: Psychological effects of the respiratory infection

People treated for COVID-19 are feared to suffer from long term ailments of the respiratory disease such as psychological effects that take a while for them to fully recover from them. Speaking during a radio program that was facilitated by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), Dr Tawana Khupe, a medical doctor and rapid response team member stressed that as a frontline worker, she has noted cases where patients begin to suffer from the psychological effects of the virus.

Zimbabwe continues being on a COVID-19 induced lockdown that has been accompanied by a number of effects and with the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Dr Tawana Khupe said: “Engaging your mind as much as possible can be instrumental for a person suffering with COVID-19. You will notice that after treating a patient with COVID-19 you later have to connect them with medical staff that deal with psychological help and social services. Long COVID is a group of psychological and physical ailments after you have been treated for the COVID-19.

Dr Tawana cited that coping mechanisms for front line workers tends to be unbearable for them.

“It is quite a difficult thing and as a medical person you notice that you get to deal with death on a daily basis. It is heart breaking to see a young person lose their life to COVID-19,” she added. “It really takes a psychological toll on you as a doctor and the patient who is being treated for COVID-19.

“That is why you hear doctors advising for people to always wear masks, stay at home and frequently sanitize their hands. You learn a few coping mechanisms to dealing with COVID-19 and the fact of losing patients to the virus.”

COVID-19 variants that are likely to spread faster that the initial virus detected early last year.

People should have been taking COVID-19 seriously from the beginning. It is the time to take it up and be serious in minimizing the spread of the virus. When wearing a mask, you are not only protecting yourself but actually doing more or less community service as you get to

The COVID-19 virus has been mutating from the time that it was detected and the mutations were not major ones and scientists were not worried about those. But when it came to the South African, the United Kingdom and the Brazilian Variant the major mutations that were noted as the virus started transmitting much faster. The mutations afforded it the ability to attach much easier with some of the receptors in the nose, the mouth and the airwaves. It means that the virus would spread faster

There has been some talk on the variants being ore deadly causing higher death rate but that is still under study. As Zimbabwe we have a much lesser capacity to test for these variants and the best would be to pay much attention to the COVID-19 precautionary measures. It is good to know about the variants but these would not make much of a difference if you are failing to play your part as well.

We still treat COVID-19 the same way from the first version of the virus. There will be some in need of anti-biotics while others are in need of oxygen and paracetamol to reduce fever. We still treat it the same way because it causes a respiratory illness.

“When I am not doing what I can to curb the spread of COVID-19, I am actually promoting the spread of COVID-19,” added Dr Tawana Khupe.  We should be worried about the surge in COVID-19 particularly the South African variant considering the proximity to our country.

We hospitalize moderate to severe cases and those who are mild are treated like common colds at home. Those with moderate cases end up requiring oxygen at the hospital.

Emmanuel Marozva, a medical laboratory scientist cited that the variants impact on the results that come out for any person who may test for the respiratory disease.

“The mutation of the virus has an impact on the results that you may receive when testing depending on the sequencing of the machine,” said Emmanuel Marozva.

Marozva encouraged communities to test for COVID-19 from accredited laboratories and to also trust the results that are received.

“It is advisable to go to laboratories that have been certified to test for COVID-19 because not all laboratories can. You are guaranteed that the results that you will get will assist you in being helped and receiving treatment from health personnel as a matter of urgency.”

Marozva further added: “The stigma that is there causes psychological effects on whosoever might want to test for COVID-19 and that makes it harder for one with a false negative to seek medical care in as much as he/she may feel symptoms of the respiratory infection.”


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