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Deciphering Long Covid: Next Emergent Healthcare Dilemma

Sana Abbas, Beenish Abbas, Haifsa Rafique, Aisha Rafique, Saima Zafar, Ramesha Azam

Abstract: Objective: To determine the prevalence of Long Haul COVID–19 Syndrome among Pakistani Population. Methods: This cross-sectional analytical study was conducted after approval from the ethical review committee of the Foundation University College of Dentistry, Islamabad from June 2021 to September 2021. A non-probability consecutive sampling methodology was employed and a total of (168) participants after voluntary consent were enrolled in the study, after explaining the study protocol to the patients. The final Questionnaire is comprised of three sections. Section – I focused on the demographic profile (Age, Gender, Profession) of the participants. Section – II was designed to investigate COVID – 19 disease history, comorbid, coronavirus disease severity along with the number of individuals infected in the family, duration of positive polymerase chain reaction results, and management destination (Hospital or Home). Section – III addressed the frequency of persistent symptoms (Gastrointestinal, Systemic, Cardiovascular, Musculoskeletal, Immunological, Dermatological, Neuropsychiatric, Ophthalmological, Pulmonary, Otorhinolaryngological, Endocrine, Reproductive and Genitourinary systems). Results: 168 responders participated in this survey study,48 (28.6%) males while 120 (71.4%) females. About 36 (11.9%) were found to be suffering from comorbidity, 84 (50.0%) suffered from mild disease symptoms, while only 4 (2.4%) experienced the severe disease. The disease was managed at home for a major chunk of responders, 140 (83.3%).132 (78.6%) were found to have suffered from long COVID syndrome with the persistence of symptoms beyond four weeks of infection. The most common symptoms included fatigue (78.8%), fever (60.0%), loss of taste (57.8%), dry cough (45.5%), headache (42.4%), post-exertional malaise (45.5%), shortness of breath (39.4%), insomnia (39.0%), loss of smell (36.4%), loss of appetite (33.3%) and depression (33.3%).Male gender (p=0.009), with existing chronic illnesses (p<0.001), moderate and severe disease (p<0.001), higher age group (p<0.001) and isolated at hospital (p=0.002). Conclusion: In conclusion, this study has shown that persistence of COVID disease symptoms (most common symptoms included fatigue, fever, loss of taste, dry cough, headache, post-exertional malaise, shortness of breath, insomnia, loss of smell, loss of appetite, and depression) are common in Pakistani population. Male gender, existing chronic illnesses, moderate and severe disease, higher age group, and isolation at the hospital are the probable risk factors.
Keywords: disease symptoms / long COVID / Pakistani population / survey / loss / hospital / Male

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