Health Guidance Malaysia

What is COVID-19 and Long COVID?


What is COVID-19

COVID-19, short for “Coronavirus Disease 2019,” is an infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. COVID-19 quickly spread globally, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

The symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe and typically include fever, cough, fatigue, body aches, difficulty breathing, and loss of taste or smell. Some individuals may experience no symptoms at all, while others may develop severe complications, particularly those with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems.

COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019,” is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. It’s a respiratory illness that primarily spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and can also spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the face.
When someone gets infected with the virus, it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. Some people infected with COVID-19 may not develop any symptoms, while others may experience mild to severe symptoms. Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
For some individuals, particularly older adults and those with underlying medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or weakened immune systems, COVID-19 can lead to severe illness, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), organ failure, and even death.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, public health measures such as wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, washing hands frequently, and avoiding large gatherings are recommended. Vaccination against COVID-19 is also crucial in reducing the risk of infection and severe illness by providing immunity against the virus. Efforts to control the pandemic include widespread testing, contact tracing, quarantine, isolation, and vaccination campaigns. It’s important for individuals to stay informed about COVID-19 through reliable sources such as public health agencies and medical professionals, and to follow guidelines and recommendations to protect themselves and others from infection.
Despite symptoms generally lasting for 14 days, COVID-19 can also cause long-term health complications, known as “long COVID”. Long COVID, medically known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), refers to the persistent health issues that some individuals experience after recovering from COVID-19. The exact cause of long COVID is not yet fully understood, but it’s believed to result from a combination of factors, including ongoing inflammation, immune system dysregulation, and damage to various organs and tissues caused by the initial viral infection. While many people recover from the acute phase of the illness within a few weeks, others may continue to experience symptoms for weeks or even months afterward.
These lingering symptoms can vary widely and may affect different parts of the body. Common symptoms of long COVID include persistent fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, joint pain, muscle weakness, and cognitive difficulties such as brain fog or difficulty concentrating. Some individuals may also experience symptoms like headaches, loss of taste or smell, digestive issues, and mood changes.
Given the complex and evolving nature of long COVID, it’s essential for individuals who experience persistent symptoms after COVID-19 infection to seek medical evaluation and follow-up care. Staying informed about COVID through reliable sources such as healthcare providers and reputable medical organizations can help individuals understand their symptoms, access appropriate care, and make informed decisions about managing their health. Additionally, following guidelines and recommendations for preventing long COVID-19 infection can help reduce the risk of experiencing long-term health complications associated with the disease.


How is long COVID?

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, can vary in duration depending on several factors such as the severity of the illness, the individual’s overall health, and any underlying medical conditions they may have.

For many people, COVID-19 follows a typical course where symptoms start to appear within a few days to two weeks after exposure to the virus. The duration of symptoms can vary widely, with some individuals experiencing mild symptoms for a week or two, while others may have more severe symptoms that persist for several weeks or even months.

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