WITH 17,712 persons in Guyana recovering after being tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 virus, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony has disclosed that the ministry has been training its doctors to facilitate the treatment of any Guyanese who is diagnosed with post-COVID syndrome.
Post-COVID syndrome is described as “an illness among patients who have recovered from COVID-19, but still have ongoing symptoms or are among those who continue to have symptoms for longer than normally expected.” The long-term consequences of COVID-19 are not well understood.
Minister Anthony noted that the condition can be a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus.
Studies have shown that people who did not have symptoms when they were infected can have post-COVID conditions, which include loss of smell or taste; dizziness on standing; chest pain; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; cough; joint or muscle pain; depression or anxiety and fever.
He noted that one of the main symptoms associated with the post-COVID syndrome are respiratory issues.
“Symptoms can range from symptoms that affect your respiratory system, so you would see persons with laboured breathing. Some of them might have decreased lung capacity because of the trauma that might have occurred when they had the COVID infection and that will have reduced their capacity to breathe,” he said.
Some of the other issues which could occur include beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations); chest pain; tiredness or fatigue; difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”); headaches and even hair loss.
He noted that some persons who have diabetes and have contracted the virus have had some level of difficulty managing their diabetes. He further stated that some persons who were not diagnosed with diabetes can also present symptoms of diabetes.
“Even if you get COVID and you had the mild to moderate forms, you can later on present with these types of symptoms because this set of symptoms have been seen in patients in other countries and we are not going to be an exception, so we might see some of those here,” said Dr., Anthony.
He noted that government has been facilitating continuous medical education for the doctors in Guyana to prepare them for patients who have been affected by post-COVID syndrome.
He noted that although specific clinics have not yet been set up by the ministry, patients would be referred to the relevant clinics that could best treat the symptoms with which they are diagnosed. He further encouraged anyone who is experiencing symptoms to go to the regional health centres to be tested and treated.