It takes most people a few weeks to recover from Covid. But if any of the symptoms last longer, it’s called Long Covid. It can lead to constant fatigue, shortness of breath, and memory problems, among other problems.
A study conducted by a team from universities in Canada and the US found that children who showed at least four symptoms when first contracting the disease were then more likely to develop long Covid.
The most common symptoms reported were coughing, tiredness or weakness, and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
The principal investigator and associate professor of medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine, Dr. Stephen Freedman, said: “We have found that in some children the illness with COVID-19 is associated with reporting of persistent symptoms after three months.
“Our findings suggest that appropriate guidance and follow-up care is required, particularly for children at high risk of long-Covid.”
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The study followed 1,884 children from eight countries over a 90-day period, sometime between March 2020 and January 2021.
Long Covid was found in almost 10 percent of hospitalized children and five percent of children discharged from the emergency room.
Co-director of studies Dr. Todd Florin – of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine – stated: “Our finding that children with initially multiple COVID-19 symptoms were at higher risk for long Covid is consistent with studies in adults.
“Unfortunately, there are no known therapies for long Covid in children and more research is needed in this area.
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“However, when symptoms are significant, treatment that targets the symptoms is most important.
“Multidisciplinary care is warranted when symptoms impair quality of life.”
The research also showed an initial hospital stay of 48 hours or more, and being 14 years old or older meant the child was more likely to develop long Covid.
Co-director of studies Dr. Nathan Kuppermann from the University of California added: “The reported rates of long Covid in adults are significantly higher than in children.
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“Our findings may inform public health policy decisions regarding COVID-19 mitigation strategies for children and long-Covid screening approaches in individuals with severe outcomes.”
Around 1.8 million people were living with long Covid in the UK as of April this year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Of these, 346,000 (19 percent) said their ability to go about their daily activities was “severely limited.”
Fatigue has been reported as the most common symptom of long Covid – with 51 per cent of people suffering from it.
While 33 percent reported shortness of breath, 26 percent reported a loss of smell and 23 percent had difficulty concentrating.
The NHS lists other common signs of long Covid as follows:
- pain or tightness in the chest
- Difficulty sleeping
- needles and pins
- joint pain
- depression and anxiety
- Tinnitus, earache
- Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite
- fever, headache, sore throat
- skin rashes