Most long Covid symptoms clear up in a year for mild cases: study


A large Israeli study found that most long-term Covid symptoms disappear within a year for people who had mild initial infections, and the findings were hailed as “reassuring.”

The World Health Organization’s modeling indicates that during the years 2020 and 2021, at least 17 million people in Europe would experience persistent Covid symptoms for several months after recovering from their initial infection.

However, many aspects of the condition, including its duration, remain a mystery.

Nearly two million people of all ages who were tested for Covid in Israel between March 2020 and October 2021 had their medical records analyzed by Israeli researchers.

Therefore, the earlier Covid variants, including Delta, were included in the findings, but not the more recent Omicron variants.

More than 70 distinct symptoms that have been linked to long Covid were searched for by the researchers in the Maccabi Healthcare Services records.

They left out patients with more serious illnesses, such as those who were hospitalized, who, according to previous research, had a higher risk of having long Covid.

The study found a significantly increased risk of several conditions in mild cases, including loss of smell and taste, breathing issues, weakness, palpitations, strep throat, dizziness, and impairments in concentration and memory known as “brain fog.”

However, the majority of symptoms disappeared within a year.

Maytal Bivas-Benita, a co-author of the study and a researcher at Israel’s KI Research Institute, stated, “There is a small number of people still suffering from shortness of breath or weakness for a year after Covid.”

The study, which was published in the BMJ, also found that vaccinated patients had a lower risk of breathing issues, which are the most common symptom.

In contrast, children experienced fewer health issues than adults and generally recovered from most of them within a year.

Bivas-Benita told AFP that the findings made her feel “encouraged,” especially since she was worried about how long the symptoms might last.

She stated, “After a year, the vast majority of patients will be fine.”

Barak Mizrahi, the lead author of the study, expressed the hope that the research would lessen the uncertainty faced by physicians attempting to determine whether their patients’ symptoms are related to Covid.

The findings were described as “reassuring” by Michael Absoud, a paediatrician and clinical academic at King’s College London who was not involved in the study.

He stated that it demonstrates that the vast majority of children who experience prolonged Covid symptoms “have a very good recovery.”

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