Research has made it clear that individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 may have a long road to recovery. However, a new study published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that even those who never seek inpatient treatment can suffer long-term effects and prolonged symptoms several weeks after testing positive. In other words, a surprising number of people aren’t “snapping back” from COVID the same way they do from the flu.
“COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even among persons with milder outpatient illness, including young adults,” the CDC wrote, reporting the stunning finding of their multistate studyinvolving 292 individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.
Of them, 274 reported experiencing symptoms of the highly infectious and potentially deadly virus. While the majority recovered in a few weeks, over one-third (35%) reported that they hadn’t returned to their usual health 2-3 weeks after their initial test. Researchers also broke it down by age, finding that even younger, otherwise healthy individuals suffered from prolonged symptoms. This included 26% among those aged 18–34 years, 32% among those aged 35–49 years, and 47% among those aged over 50 years.
Among those surveyed who reported cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath at the time of testing, 43%, 35%, and 29%, respectively, continued to experience these symptoms 2-3 weeks later. Overall, the most common symptoms reported were fatigue (71 percent), lasting cough (61 percent), and ongoing headaches (61 percent). While fever and chills were more likely to resolve quickly, others proved to be lingering. Among those surveyed who reported cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath at the time of testing, 43%, 35%, and 29%, respectively, continued to experience these symptoms 2-3 weeks later.
“This report indicates that even among symptomatic adults tested in outpatient settings, it might take weeks for resolution of symptoms and return to usual health,” the authors continued.
Take Preventative Measures
The CDC made sure to mention that “over 90 percent of outpatients with influenza recover within approximately two weeks” after a positive flu test.
They emphasized the importance of their findings, adding that “effective public health messaging targeting these groups,” is warranted. And of course, they also recommend preventative measures such as social distancing, frequent handwashing, and the consistent and correct use of face coverings in public. As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 37 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.
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