Have you experienced COVID-19? Even before you tested positive, you had probably felt something wasn’t right. Scratching in your throat, fever, sore muscles, loss of smell and taste and that overwhelming general feeling of being run over by a bus. Now, even if your symptoms were manageable with a week’s worth of rest and a few paracetamols, you could wonder, why can’t you go back to normal. Why do some symptoms stubbornly linger on?
What is long COVID?
Most people with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recover quickly in a few weeks. But some continue to feel specific symptoms even after they don’t test positive anymore and even after their acute symptoms of COVID-19 had subsided. So, the fact that somebody had a mild version of the disease does not exempt them from suffering from long COVID. It seems that the “long haulers”, as some people affected by long COVID refer to themselves, suffer from lingering symptoms from 3 to 9 months or even longer.
Symptoms of long COVID
People who experience long COVID often have some of these signs and symptoms that just don’t seem to go away. Dr Janet Diaz, head of Clinical Care at WHO, speaks about symptoms and about the treatment of long COVID patients:
The first three symptoms on this list are the most often described by the people suffering from long COVID, but the list does not stop here at all.
- fatigue or muscle weakness
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- cognitive (memory, concentration) dysfunctions – “brain fog”
- sleep difficulties
- depression or anxiety
- hair loss
- loss of smell or taste
- joint pain
- chest pain
- muscle pain or headache
- fast or pounding heartbeat
Image source: https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n1648 (2)
How to recover from long COVID?
Brown et al. write for the Lancet that “People with long COVID reported turning to a vast range of over-the-counter medicines, remedies, supplements, other therapies, and dietary changes to manage relapsing and remitting symptoms. Individuals have expressed a willingness to try anything because symptoms have substantial effects on quality of life and work capability.” Source (3)
Hyperbaric therapy proves to be a very effective method for fighting long COVID. Research (4) from 2021 shows that HBOT yielded a statistically significant improvement in:
- global cognition
- executive function
- information processing and
- verbal function
Long COVID very often causes hypoxia, neuroinflammation, and reduces neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function throughout life). All of these symptoms can be successfully reduced by hyperbaric therapy, as we know its ability to increase the body’s oxygenation, reduce inflammation and stimulate nerve cells.
A team of researchers, including Dr Efrati, has made the first case report (5) of a previously healthy athletic individual who suffered from long COVID syndrome treated successfully with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This man suffered from long COVID symptoms including:
- decline in memory
- decline in multitasking abilities
- low energy,
- difficulty breathing and
- decline in physical fitness
After hyperbaric treatments the patient showed improvements in cognition and cardiopulmonary function. Which once again proves that hyperbaric therapy shows results and great potential to resolve issues following the COVID-19 pandemic. It was said that the world after COVID-19 will never be the same. But with the help of HBOT people’s health and well-being could.
Above mentioned research was performed in hyperbaric chambers at the pressure of 2.0 ATA, which is only possible with professional equipment that provides therapeutic effects. Such effects can be achieved with specialized AHA Solutions provided by AHA Hyperbarics. However, treatments of medical indications should only be done with medical equipment under medical supervision.
It’s so good seeing encouraging results after 10 treatments in the AHA hyperbaric chamber.