The Northern Territory news Sat 16 Apr 2022
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
Saturday April 16 2022 WEEKEND 31 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Spicer recently met up with a family member who had previously suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, which carries similar symptoms to long Covid. I told her I felt like a corpse, dragging my broken body from one place to the next, she says. She really understood its a little like a living death. Every morning I wake up feeling utterly exhausted, despite getting a decent eight or nine hours sleep. Up until this time, Ive been spending each day ferrying between medical appointments, in snatches of time between work commitments. Four blood tests, three ECGs, two emergency department visits, one cardiologist, a haematologist, an echocardiogram, and an MRI later, I was diagnosed with a bit of extra fluid around the heart, and mild post-viral pericarditis. While older people and those with serious medical conditions are most likely to experience lingering Covid symptoms, even young and otherwise healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection. Common signs and symptoms, like those experienced by Spicer, include fatigue, shortness of breath, persistent cough, joint pain, chest pain and headache. Sleep problems, dizziness and depression round out the stable of indicators, which according to a UK survey of people who tested positive, can be reported by up to 10 per cent of people even 12 weeks later. Experts dont know how long it lasts, and there is no specific treatment. While NSWs first long Covid outpatient clinic opened last week at St Vincents Hospital, Spicer claims theres not enough information for sufferers to understand what it is or how to live with a condition that could end up Tracey Spicer, pictured before she contracted Covid; and above, getting her Covid vaccination in August last year. The family has been wonderful, taking care of me and doing all of the household chores. We usually split it up between us, but I cant manage to do anything at the moment. I really feel for people living alone, without such support. To others going through this, I say listen to your body youre not going crazy. There are plenty of other people feeling exactly the same way. If you feel chest pains, go immediately to an emergency department. Try to relax as much as possible, whether its by reading, doing gentle gardening, or arts and crafts. Do one thing each day that makes your heart sing: listening to music, meditating, or watching a gripping series on Netflix. Contact friends, who might not know how to help maybe they could cook a meal and drop it on your doorstep. It is estimated that anywhere from 10 to 30 per cent of patients might experience long Covid after recovering even if they werent very sick in the first place. Recently, a team of researchers and clinicians from UNSW Sydneys Kirby Institute and St Vincents Hospital Sydney uncovered an immune profile for long Covid, potentially paving the way for tailored treatment for those with ongoing symptoms. Their research has shown unvaccinated people with long Covid even those whose initial infection was mild have a sustained response for at least eight months following their infection. Researchers analysed multiple samples from 62 patients diagnosed with Covid between April and July 2020. Patient samples were analysed at three, four and eight months after initial infection, and compared with control groups. Dr David Darley from St Vincents Hospital, who was co-lead author on the paper, says they are hopeful that with a milder variant and Australias high vaccination rates, we may see less long Covid. We are currently looking at some data from the Delta wave to understand whether vaccination may reduce the possibility of long Covid, Darley says. Recent research has also found that people who have contracted long Covid are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within a year. Researchers reviewed the medical records of army veterans in the US where they looked at more than 180,000 people who developed Covid from March 2020 until September 2021. The group was then compared with millions of veterans who did not have the infection, and found that people diagnosed with Covid were 46 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Dr Devang Sanghavi medical director of the intensive care unit at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, US has seen about 100 patients with long Covid, many of whom take weeks to recover. He says cases are lower in children and women are affected more than men and no one should be suffering in silence. If you have long Covid symptoms, you should seek care, he says. What is reassuring is that patients who were vaccinated, in those rare instances where they got a breakthrough infection those patients are 50 per cent less likely to develop long Covid. The other thing that everyone should know is that they are not alone in this. There are millions of others like them who are suffering and have similar symptoms. The key is forming support groups and using technology to fight this thing together. affecting millions of Australians. Honestly, the Australian government is really behind the eight ball on this, she says. There are long-Covid clinics all over the US, the UK, and many other parts of the world. Melbourne has had a long-Covid clinic for a while, and now theres one at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney Professor Greg Dore is doing terrific work there. Having said that, we are extremely fortunate to have a strong public health system in this country. During my first and free appointment with Prof Dore, he said hed seen many people with similar symptoms. He told me to stop exercising immediately we urgently need public health and information campaigns, because this will end up affecting millions of Australians. Its incredibly hard to find proper, robust advice on what to do. Today, Spicer manages to work in one to three-hour slots, resting in between. Each day, she does some gentle seated yoga stretches to oil the joints, and says deep breathing is brilliant if you find yourself short of breath. Ive always had a healthy diet, but I used to drink alcohol a couple of days a week, she explains. Now, the body cant handle that at all. There are no more walks with friends. Instead, we catch up by having a quiet coffee or a bite to eat, or a quick chat on the phone. I know it sounds odd, but socialising can be exhausting things really have changed.
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