AFFINITY Health chief executive Murray Hewlett said long haul Covid-19 symptoms can last for more than 12 weeks. Picture: Supplied
AFFINITY Health chief executive Murray Hewlett said long haul Covid-19 symptoms can last for more than 12 weeks. Picture: Supplied

Research suggests children could suffer long term Covid-19 symptoms

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jun 21, 2021

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DURBAN: While children are less at risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms, emerging evidence suggests that some children are experiencing prolonged symptoms – or long-haul Covid-19.

Those with long haul Covid-19 – according to healthline.com – complain of fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, headaches and lost of taste of smell, long after recovering from Covid-19.

Affinity Health chief executive Murray Hewlett said long-haul Covid-19 symptoms can last for more than 12 weeks.

"It’s not yet clear how many children worldwide have been affected and are still experiencing long-haul Covid-19 symptoms, largely because most research is based on adults. However, ONS estimates that around 13%-15% of children with Covid-19 have symptoms that last for more than five weeks," Hewlett said.

He said the reason why some children, as well as some adults, continue to have Covid-19 symptoms is unknown.

Long-term Covid-19 symptoms may be caused by the active virus remaining in the system. Reinfection with the same or a new Sars-CoV-2 variant, immune system issues, or pre-existing conditions can occur.

According to some researchers, chronic fatigue syndrome may persist.

Hewlett said, while research is ongoing to help better understand long Covid-19, there is still a lot of speculation and we don’t have all the answers yet.

"Parents need to watch their children closely for any signs – no matter how subtle. They could indicate lingering Covid-19 symptoms, particularly if they had significant exposure to someone who had the virus," he said.

Symptoms of post-Covid-19 conditions were first thought to include tiredness or fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headache, and respiratory problems.

"Now, evidence from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) suggests there may be up to 100 other symptoms. Some of these symptoms include gastrointestinal issues, nausea, dizziness, seizures, skin complications, depression or anxiety, hallucinations, and other symptoms," he said.

Hewlett added that the onus to provide appropriate care and help manage ongoing symptoms of Covid-19 remains on trained health care practitioners.

Hewlett encourages all parents, whose children may be experiencing ongoing symptoms, to call their doctor or local Health Department and continue to slow the spread of Covid-19 by sticking to local guidelines – hand washing, mask wearing, self-isolating, and social distancing.

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