Commentary on the study led by Ziyad Al-Aly at the Washington University School of Medicine from an Aussie immunologist —
the researchers found that the risk of heart, brain, kidney and blood complications all increased with each subsequent infection. As Goodnow has noted about the findings, “The risk of cardiovascular disease, for example, increased after one infection, but doubled in people who had two infections, and tripled in those who had been infected thrice.” Similar risks were found for heart disease, blood clotting problems, brain decline and diabetes. Nor did vaccines seem to help in preventing these problems, which most frequently occur up to six months after infection. “Every time you dip your bucket in that COVID well, you’ve got the same chance of a whole lot of bad things happening,” explained Goodnow, who considers the veterans study “really important real-world data.” His takeaway: “COVID-19 is not just a cold, and having it before doesn’t ‘get it over with.’”
The British Medical Journal’s set of guidelines for GPs and primary care providers on how to help long covid sufferers — gives a good idea of the current state of affairs for this tricky syndrome.
What you need to know: Long covid (prolonged symptoms following covid-19 infection) is common; The mainstay of management is supportive, holistic care, symptom control, and detection of treatable complications; Many patients can be supported effectively in primary care by a GP with a special interest.