Health News

‘Tightness’ in your chest that won’t go could signal long Covid

What is long Covid and what are the known symptoms?

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

If someone suffers from Covid symptoms beyond four weeks their condition is classified as long Covid. But side effects of the infection can last even longer, including from months to years. It is thought two million Britons have experienced this.

Some of the well-known symptoms of long Covid include fatigue and breathlessness, which make everyday life difficult.

However, there are other signs that should prompt seeking immediate medical help, an expert has said.

Doctor Andrew Whittamore, GP and clinical lead at Asthma and Lung UK, spoke with to explain more. He listed chest tightness as one of the first signs of long Covid.

Dr Whittamore said. “The first signs of long Covid can vary depending on the individual, but common symptoms, according to the NHS, include extreme tiredness (fatigue), breathlessness, problems with memory and concentration (known as ‘brain fog’), a persistent cough, or chest pain or tightness.”

He recommended getting medical help as soon as possible if this is the case.

“See your GP urgently if you have chest pain or tightness, heart palpitations, leg or arm swelling, thoughts of self-harm or neglect,” he said.

How does long Covid impact daily life?

He said: “Fatigue, memory issues, and in particular breathing difficulties, can make it harder to return to a normal life, especially for people who already have a pre-existing lung condition such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which can make it more difficult for them to breathe anyway.

“Those experiencing long-term symptoms such as brain fog or fatigue may find they are unable to return to work, while others might find day-to-day life much harder due to breathing problems and may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation – a treatment programme that helps those with lung conditions stay active.

“If your symptoms are affecting your daily life, your GP can refer you to a specific long Covid service to establish a rehabilitation plan, or a specialist that can help with your specific symptoms, such as a physiotherapist, dietitian, or occupational therapist.

“Your rehabilitation might involve seeing health care professionals at home, in a clinic or hospital, or having an online programme to follow in your own time.

“Some people who suffer from long Covid also get depressed and anxious, which can affect their daily moods and ability to socialise, so they may be offered counselling or another form of psychological therapy.”

Easing long Covid symptoms

Dr Whittamore shared tips from Asthma and Lung UK about how to tackle the side effects of long Covid.

Get checked out -The first thing to do if you have been experiencing symptoms for four or more weeks, or you develop any new symptoms, is to get a proper assessment from your doctor.

Use breathing techniques – Practising breathing control and breathing techniques can help you recover from breathlessness and also aid relaxation. Try deep breathing by taking a long, slow, deep breath in, ideally through your nose, holding for two to three seconds, then breathing out gently through your mouth.

Manage your cough -To calm down a coughing fit, try “huffing” – breathe out through an open mouth instead of coughing to squeeze air out quickly from your lungs through your throat and mouth, as though you are trying to mist a mirror.

Hydrate – Drink enough water – the NHS recommends six to eight glasses of fluid a day, inhaling steam by sitting in a bathroom with the hot shower running or with your head over a bowl of hot water, keeping your mouth closed when you can to stop your throat getting dry, and keeping active as possible.

No smoking – If you do smoke, now is definitely a good time to stop. Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to protect yourself from viral infections and aid your recovery.

Save your energy – If you have a task or activity to do that will use a lot of energy, it’s important to plan ahead for this. Try to take regular breaks – waiting until you need to stop can make you feel more fatigued.

Eat well – Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes (such as lentils and beans), nuts and wholegrains (like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice) and drink lots of water. The better you eat, the stronger your immune system will be to aid your recovery.

Exercise – Try to do some gentle exercise daily to build up your strength, if your doctor has said it is safe for you to do so.

“If you do suspect you have long Covid, make an appointment to see your GP who can carry out or refer you for tests, and rule out the possibility of any other underlying conditions,” he added.

Source: Read Full Article