Friday, October 6, 2023 — Long COVID is now a known disease. It is a group of symptoms that last longer than the initial illness.
However, experts say that COVID-19 might not be the only respiratory virus that has these long-lasting effects on health; “long colds” might also exist.
It sheds light not only on how long COVID affects people’s lives, but also on how other lung diseases do the same. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London led the study. “These conditions aren’t reported or diagnosed because people don’t know about them or because there isn’t a common word for them,” Vivaldi said.
To do this, researchers looked at how common and bad long-term effects were after a COVID case compared to sickness with another acute lung infection that did not test positive for COVID-19.
People who had COVID-19 were more likely to feel dizzy or lightheaded after getting sick and to have trouble with their senses of smell and taste than people who had a non-COVID lung infection.
People who had a “long cold” didn’t seem to have those symptoms, but they did have coughs, stomachaches, and diarrhea that lasted for more than four weeks.
These other signs seemed to be caused by how sick the person was. Colds, the flu, and asthma are some other lung illnesses.
Vivaldi said in a university news release, “As research into long COVID continues, we need to take the chance to look into and think about the long-term effects of other acute respiratory infections.”
“These “long” infections are hard to diagnose and treat because there aren’t many tests that can do that and there are a lot of possible symptoms.” “More than 200 have been looked into just for long COVID,” she said.
A national study of COVID led by Queen Mary University of London began in 2020 and this is the most recent study from that study. More than 19,000 people have signed up to take part in the study.
The study, which came out online Oct. 6 in The Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine magazine, looked at information from over 10,000 British people.
“Our results may match the experiences of people who have had long-lasting symptoms after a respiratory infection even though a nose or throat swab did not show COVID-19,” said Adrian Martineau, who is the chief investigator of COVIDENCE UK and a clinical professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London.
“It’s important to keep looking into the long-term effects of COVID-19 and other acute respiratory infections because it can help us figure out why some people have symptoms that last longer than others,” Martineau said. “In the end, this could help us figure out the best way to treat and care for those who are affected.”
QMUL news report from October 6, 2023, as cited in the sources