Home Health “Several hundred thousand to millions of people will have long-term effects”

“Several hundred thousand to millions of people will have long-term effects”


Since the beginning of the pandemic, Jördis Frommhold has been caring for people who have contracted Covid-19 and are struggling with long-term effects. There are those who suffer from post-Covid after long treatment in intensive care. And there are those who have been infected with Corona with mild symptoms or without them at all – and still have to struggle with long-Covid symptoms later. Ms Frommhold, you have already cared for around 3,000 people affected by Long Covid in your rehabilitation clinic. How would you describe the situation at the moment? We have massive inflows of people with Long Covid and Post-Covid – and with Omikron there is no end in sight for the time being. Sometimes there are waiting times of up to a year. This is currently being regulated down a bit because more patients can be distributed to other clinics. Nevertheless, around 90 to 95 percent of the 120 beds are permanently occupied by patients after a Covid 19 infection. There is only little space left for patients with other lung diseases who also need to be treated. Head physician Jördis Frommhold helps those affected by Long Covid and Post-Covid to find their way back to life with rehabilitation. She also heads a newly established professional association that is supposed to deal with therapy options and care structures. © Source: Bernd Wüstneck/dpa-Zentralbild/ Do you now know how likely it is to contract Long Covid after a corona infection? That’s difficult to quantify. There are studies that assume 10 percent, a more recent study from Mainz states that up to 40 percent of those infected can be affected. Either way, we are talking about several hundred thousand to millions of people who will have long-term consequences – and that in Germany alone. This does not affect everyone so much that they become unable to work for months. But we must not forget that we are dealing with a chronic disease. Does vaccination protect against Long Covid? Colleagues in England and the US are seeing evidence that the risk of Long Covid is lower after a breakthrough infection. I can also report this from clinical experience. At the moment we are only observing very few vaccinated and re-infected patients who subsequently have pronounced long-Covid symptoms. However, it is not yet possible to say exactly how high the protective effect is. The study situation is still tight.

Long Covid often affects 20 to 50-year-old healthy, high-performing people without previous illnesses who have never had to rely on medical infrastructure before.

Why could the vaccination also protect against consequential damage? Vaccination protects against a severe course of Covid-19. This also reduces the risk of post-Covid, i.e. serious consequences after treatment in the intensive care unit. Vaccination also reduces the risk of contracting the coronavirus in the first place – and thus also the risk of contracting Long Covid after an asymptomatic or mild course. At the moment everything looks like Omicron makes less sick than Delta. Does Omicron then also trigger Long Covid less often? I wouldn’t want to give the all-clear on Omikron just yet. It won’t be clear until spring at the earliest what the late effects are all about. It’s true that Omicron could hit the upper airways rather than the lungs – which could lead to less stressed ICUs. But if the virus is persistent, i.e. can also enter the body via the mouth and nose, that may be enough for Long Covid. So far, those with an asymptomatic or mild course of Long Covid have probably developed symptoms typical of Long Covid. Tiredness, exhaustion and shortness of breath are typical symptoms of Long Covid. How do you even find out you have it? Long Covid often affects 20 to 50-year-old healthy, high-performing people without previous illnesses who have never had to rely on medical infrastructure before. However, it is very difficult to diagnose a mild form of Covid and prove that one is related to the other. It takes a lot of time, even with the family doctor. Further appointments with various specialists are needed. For example, if someone is suffering from chest pain, it may be due to overloading of the auxiliary respiratory muscles – which is typical of Long Covid. But it can also be a symptom of a completely different disease, for example of the heart, such diagnoses must be ruled out. What happens after the diagnosis? Once the diagnosis has been made, the patient is referred to long-Covid outpatient clinics, which are usually located at universities, or rehabilitation centers. It has now been proven that specially tailored physiotherapy and psychotherapy help those affected. But it often takes months to get an appointment. What do you now know about children and Long Covid? Don’t panic. Having said that, we should not underestimate how many children could be affected by Long Covid. The study situation on the frequency varies greatly and ranges from one to over 50 percent. The numbers are not really illuminating. But that also means that we just don’t know exactly yet. This is precisely why we should protect children from the virus. Why do the symptoms appear at all after the acute illness? Do you know more now? Many studies are ongoing, but much is not yet understood. There is the theory that autoantibodies could form, which are directed against one’s own immune system. However, the persistence of the virus is also discussed again and again. This means that the virus survives in very small parts in the body and fuels chronic inflammatory reactions. A more recent study indicates that this might be possible: special sniffer dogs were able to sniff out the virus for a year after the actual infection. Do you have the impression that the clinical picture is now being taken more seriously in Germany? I do have the impression that politicians are paying more attention to the problems with Long Covid. More money is needed for research, but there is, for example, a Long Covid professional association that was newly founded under the patronage of the Federal Minister of Health, which, among other things, is committed to better structuring the care of Long Covid patients. We are also working more networked among the clinics and in the medical profession than at the beginning – one of the few positive effects of the pandemic. But socially, I’m not so sure. For example, my patients who are absent from work for a long time repeatedly report that they are accused of only wanting to make people ill. They struggle with serious health problems.

#thousand #millions #people #longterm #effects


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here