While catching Corona Virus is an anxiety of just about every single Australian right now, the reality is some people, especially those with a weakened immunity or aged over 70, are at a far greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than most.
And whilst the majority of those that do get sick, get better, it’s left us wondering what the long-term health impacts are from having COVID-19 are.
What are the long-term health impacts are from having COVID-19?
According to Associate Professor, Louis Irving, the director of respiratory and sleep medicine at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, who spoke with Body & Soul, the long term effects (so far) don’t appear to be harmful
While the data simply isn’t there yet to support any indication either way, Associate Professor Irving suggests that in the majority of cases involving COVID-19, they are lower respiratory viral infections, resulting in no long-term negative effects.
That means, most young, healthy individuals who develop symptoms of coronavirus and recover, don’t need to be concerned about future impacts upon their health.
In the short term however, if you have recently suffered a respiratory viral infection, or mild symptoms of Corona Virus, your immune response could well be weakened to future infections meaning you’re more likely to develop bacterial pneumonia or bronchitis for the next few months after getting sick.
Sadly, the elderly who develop coronavirus and recover from the Corona Virus may not fare as well as the younger generations, with Associate Professor Irving saying that in older people, there is an increased incidence in heart attacks for a t least two years after a severe respiratory viral infection.
If you are one of the small group of people who develop pneumonia or acute lung injury as a result of COVID-19, Associate Professor Irving suggests that there is a small chance you may develop lung scarring.
“This is the small minority of people who end up on ventilators or who get a severe bacterial secondary pneumonia, such as staphylococcal or streptococcus, and that’s a very small proportion of people, if they survive, might end up with some permanent lung scarring,” he explains.
But don’t panic, because the instances of these are rare, making it very unlikely it could happen to you and you are far more likely to develop a mild illness and make a full recovery with no-long term health effects.
In fact, a report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) says 80 per cent of those infected with COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover. Only around one in six people become seriously ill and have difficulty breathing.
The World Health Organisation notes that older people, and those with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, asthma and heart disease, appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus, however that doesn’t mean that if you’re young and otherwise healthy you should not take the threat of the virus seriously.
As has been reported, the virus can affect people of all ages, and poor outcomes have been reported in people without any previously known medical conditions, highlighting the need to continue to follow the government pleasures in plicae to reduce your chances of developing COVID-19 and passing this along to others in your community.
These measures include physical distancing, washing your hands, and staying home wherever possible to reduce your chances of developing the virus.
If you are concerned about your risk of developing corona virus due to a previous medical condition, such as a recent cancer diagnosis, we encourage you to speak directly with your health-care professional team to best mitigate and manage your risk of developing symptoms of Corona Virus.
If you are feeling anxious about the current climate and the impact of physical distancing upon your mental health, we encourage you to check out our recent webinar by clicking here.
Alternatively, if you are feeling like you need extra support, please reach out to Life Line Australia on 13 11 14.