'Long Covid' sufferers could endure years of disabling effects
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Covid-19 sufferers and those who have recovered may not be out of the woods and could still suffer from long-term Covid effects which could impact the rest of their lives.
The ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) Foundation South Africa joined a host of international ME associations currently alerting their governments and medical authorities to the long term danger post-viral fatigue syndromes might pose to patients.
The foundation said ME/CFS is a disabling and complex illness and people afflicted are often not able to do their usual activities. At times, ME/CFS may confine them to bed and have overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest. Director of the ME/CFS Foundation, Retha Viviers, said death was not the only risk from Covid -19.
“Thousands of people all over the world, who initially only suffered mild coronavirus symptoms, are developing a set of serious chronic health problems, currently described as Long Covid. Many of them in their 20s and 30s are finding themselves unable to sustain work or study several months after their original infection,” she said.
As well as muscle and joint pain, headaches, nausea and brain fog, the disabling effects of Long Covid include overwhelming fatigue that is not relieved by rest and post-exertional malaise where even minimal physical or mental effort can make patients feel extremely ill.
The ME/CFS Foundation South Africa is the first entity of its kind in South Africa (and Africa) founded in response to a devastating multi-system disease that causes dysfunction of the neurological, immune, endocrine and energy metabolism systems.