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Community & Business

22 March, 2022

COVID-19 symptoms continue to linger post infection

The Gilgandra Show is set to be bigger and better this year after receiving a funding boost from the state government.

By Supplied

As more and more Australians fall ill to COVID-19, many are reporting lingering symptoms even after the initial acute phase of illness has passed.

Regional general practitioner Dr Rebecca McGowan said she is seeing many patients take several weeks to fully recover from COVID-19 across all age groups from young people in their 20s to more elderly patients.

The most common symptom she says is a prolonged cough, which can last anywhere between three and six-weeks after the initial infection. Shortness of breath and brain fog are also predominant features, she says.

This is different to the acute phase COVID-19 illness, characterised by a runny nose, temperatures, aches and pains and sometimes a loss of taste and smell. McGowan says it’s important to normalise the debilitating effect that lingering illness can have, and she says that her patients are relieved when they hear that this is common.

For patients who have lingering symptoms she says a short course of oral steroids can prove helpful, as well as ventolin and bricanyl. She says taking it easy is necessary, especially for those who report they can’t walk more than 100 metres.

Dr McGowan said “the number one instrument I have as a GP is the power of the medical certificate”. She said giving carer’s certificates for people’s partners or for someone who can help care for the ill person’s children is also important in recovery.

“We do see it getting better”, said Dr McGowen, but how long this takes varies greatly between individuals whether they feel back to normal in some cases three weeks, others eight weeks.

She says her patients say the change can come from day to day. They tell her “you know what, I just woke up this morning and felt that it was lifting, that I felt better”.

Dr McGowan says staying up to date with vaccinations is important in avoiding lingering symptoms. She says that she is not seeing symptoms such as the prolonged cough and lung issues in patients who are up to date in all their vaccinations including booster shots.

This is general information, you should always consult your GP before any treatments.

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