COVID-19 survivors have revealed how this illness left them breathless, weak and coughing even after recovery. More than 84,000 people have been infected and 10,612 have died due to this outbreak but many people have recovered.
A 40 years old cyclist, Dani Schuchman said this illness left him totally beaten and he has no longer energy for going out on the bike and can only walk 2.5 miles around at a time. He developed pneumonia and put to intensive care. He said that his illness has destroyed all his strength.
Brian Mephin, a school teacher said in his breathless video that he was completely wiped out and even struggled for walking up the stairs after his discharge from the hospital. Recovering from the coronavirus also affects the psychological health of seriously ill people.
Another 39 years old patient, Karen Mannering, a mother of three who is pregnant with a fourth child, shared being hospitalized was the darkest hours of her life. Doctors say it is not known how long it takes to fully recover from illness. The more severe the illness, the longer it takes and those who were put in intensive care may have permanent lungs and liver damage.
Researchers think it is possible people become immune to the novel coronavirus and will not catch it twice, but they are not sure. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 which attacks the cells in the lungs and airways lining and causes difficulty in breathing. The immune system becomes active and symptoms appear such as swelling and closing of airways and making breathing difficult and patients cough and try to expel the virus and dead tissues out of bodies. The body temperature also becomes high in the response to the immune system and pains as the immune system makes body hostile for the virus to survive. Patients become exhausted as lungs don’t get enough oxygen in the blood and depleting energy supply to muscles. The majority of the coronavirus survivors said that the effect of illness can linger on for many weeks.
Karen Mannering has put an intensive care unit. She said her experience has badly affected her mental health and she had almost given up. In her tearful video, she shared that she has a long road to recover completely but she is coming home. She kept herself in isolation at home after discharge from the hospital and still had a dry cough which might last for months.
A lecturer at the University of Warwick, Dr. James Gill said that there are some problems in medicine where the best management plan is to take medicines now go away and it can be just as true with the COVID-19. The medical community has limited data and information related to the best route way to recovery for the post novel coronavirus infected patients. An integrated pathway of care is required for the hospitalized patient, looking at him as a whole person, not just a biological organism who just has a respiratory problem.
The seriously ill hospitalized patients who require ventilators may have permanent lung damage because of the way by which life-support machine forces air into the airways. Dr. Gill said that after the 2002 SARS outbreak, people showed psychological and physical health issues even after a year of recovering. Looking at the SARS cases, 27.8 percent of patients who recovered showed persistent changes on their chest X-rays after 12 months of their recovery.
He said that two-thirds of the recovered patients had some serious impact on their mental health, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. From this, it can be concluded that COVID-19 survivors must be advised to seek mental health and wellbeing services, whether home-bases services or via direct approaches.