For many of those who have successfully undergone COVID-19, negative PCR after illness is just the beginning of a difficult journey. Some describe spontaneous shifts in smell and taste: your favorite perfume begins to smell like chemistry, and your favorite dish is now impossible to eat. Other, even more unpleasant symptoms were told to us by those who had not recovered themselves.
Daria Kuznetsova, journalist, author of the Instagram-blog “Dasha pro ecology” “A very strong weakness, I could hardly reach the store. It was very difficult to work. I could work there three to four hours a day maximum. Could throw in the heat, then in the cold. By the way, there were still problems with sleep, in the middle of summer they began - I woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning from a very strong heartbeat."
Ekaterina, a resident of Moscow, says:
“I had very strong nervous symptoms, because I was just sitting, and I suddenly became sad. I was full of energy, then I suddenly had no strength at all, I started to shake hard - my hands were shaking, my leg was shaking."
Muscovite Alisa comments.
“In fact, the most unexpected and unpleasant consequence of covid for me was that I stopped falling asleep and, in general, the rhythm of sleep changed enormously. That is, usually I actually fall asleep as soon as I put my head on the pillow, and I wake up quite early too, I am a morning person - I wake up at about 4:35 without an alarm clock. Because of covid, this is probably the first time in my life when I just stopped falling asleep."
We are not talking about isolated cases. According to the British National Institute for Health Research, a significant proportion of those who recover from symptoms persist for several weeks after recovery, and 10-20% of people continue to feel the effects of the disease in the third month after diagnosis. One in five of those who recovered in the United States subsequently developed a mental disorder - a study published in the journal The Lancet. What do Russian doctors say about this?
Alice: “The doctor recommended drinking melatonin and said that in fact, the first people in America to drink melatonin right away were those who had covid. Even half a pack of melatonin in general did not make it possible to fall asleep in principle."
Daria Kuznetsova: “At first, doctors in an ordinary clinic said: what did you want, this is the coronavirus. Then they said: what do you want, you are just very thin. Then, when I began to visit private doctors, at first some were surprised, and when I came in July-August, everyone said: we have a lot of them, we have crowds of people like you, after covid. Well, as if it's okay, most likely everything will pass."
Ekaterina: “I went to city polyclinics and talked with four specialists who deal with coronavirus. And they all told me the same phrase that at the moment this has not been studied, yes, there really are such options, everything will pass within three months."
The variety of symptoms, which can come and go for no apparent reason, seriously complicates the study of what can be conventionally called "post-coid syndrome". According to preliminary estimates of the UK Ministry of Health, the consequences can be roughly divided into four groups: long-term damage to the heart and lungs, post-resuscitation syndrome, viral fatigue syndrome and persistence of COVID-19 symptoms. How do our interlocutors feel today?
Daria Kuznetsova: “I still have some problems: I get tired faster, sometimes there are some problems with my heartbeat. I have always been a healthy person, and nothing like this has happened in my life. In general, I am already good, I started to play sports, I work full time.Some additional things, how to keep my blog, is still difficult for me."
Ekaterina: “I was discharged at the end of October, and I still have these symptoms. Sometimes I go to the subway through the passage and realize that I just start to choke, that I need to stop, take off my mask, breathe a little and then I can only go further."
Alice: “My husband, who was ill with me, suffered the same completely. So we both spent a sleepless month, which, of course, had a very bad effect on work, on caring for the child. Only now, after a month, we gradually began to fall asleep with some means, gradually there appeared again the opportunity to wake up in some natural way and not suffer."
Be that as it may, most people with COVID-19 carry the infection with minimal consequences. Film critic Maxim Semyonov says:
Maxim Semyonov film critic “I was lucky - I did not lose my sense of smell. I did not have a fever, I only felt great weakness, and, obviously, I had a weakened immune system, because there was enough draft for me to catch a cold. And some exacerbations that are possible from chronic diseases have also occurred."
Finally, perhaps the most illustrative nuance of this story: all of our interlocutors are less than 40 years old. And I found them not in groups of people with postcoid syndrome, but simply among acquaintances and their acquaintances.