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Almost 90% of those living with Long Covid in Ireland have not returned to their pre-Covid level of health

According to a new report, over 90% of persons living with Long Covid in Ireland have not returned to their pre-COVID level of health.

The median reported number of long COVID symptoms per participant was eight, and the median reported period from the initial COVID-19 infection was 12 months.

APC Microbiome Ireland, a research centre situated at University College Cork, performed the study with 988 individuals in collaboration with Cork University Hospital and Long Covid Advocacy Ireland.

More than two-thirds of research participants reported tiredness, chest pain, stomach upset, memory problems, and muscular pain.

Participants also reported new symptoms that were not present prior to acquiring COVID, such as tinnitus (38%), mouth ulcers (28%), new allergies (16%), and sexual dysfunction (13%).

Participants noted that chronic symptoms can have a major influence on their quality of life, capacity to work, and cause considerable impairment.

Almost 40% of persons reported they were “severely constrained” in their ability to work, and 60% had missed workdays at some point owing to Long Covid symptoms.

Furthermore, 16% of survey participants stated that they were unable to work at the time of the study and were receiving social welfare benefits.

APC Principal Investigator and UCC Professor of Immunology Liam O’Mahony, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at CUH Dr Corinna Sadlier, and Long Covid sufferer and representative of “Long Covid Advocacy Ireland” Tanja Buwalda collaborated in the survey.

“It’s still unknown why some people get Long Covid and others don’t,” Prof. O’Mahony added.

“While many various biological mechanisms have been proposed,” he explained, “we are concentrating on the function of the immune system and the microbiome in these complex disease processes.”

“The majority of persons surveyed had mild-to-moderate COVID-19 illness at the time of the study, and the majority did not require hospital care.”

“Long Covid affects a wide range of body systems, as evidenced by systemic, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neuropsychiatric, or musculoskeletal symptoms.” “The most common symptom reported is fatigue,” Prof. O’Mahony stated.

The study “demonstrates the considerable and wide-ranging impacts Long Covid is having not only on physical health but also on capacity to carry out routine daily activities, return to work, and general quality of life,” according to Dr. Sadlier.

Ms. Buwalda stated that the report “clearly reveals that Long Covid requires urgent national attention from the government and health system.”

“Thousands of individuals are suffering unnecessarily because they lack access to multidisciplinary clinics and appropriate therapies,” she added.

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