United Arab Emirates

UAE: Can long Covid patients still spread the infection?

Doctors explain what the lingering symptoms are and how they can be treated.

Some patients who have recovered from Covid could be suffering from lingering symptoms — but unlike those with an active infection, they are not contagious, UAE doctors have said.

The condition, called long Covid, may include symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, body ache, cough, sore throat and breathing difficulties, among others.

Studies have shown that these Covid-19 aftereffects are likely to stay in the body for many months, said professor Adrian Kennedy, chief wellness officer for Arabian Wellness and Lifestyle Management at RAK Hospital.

Emerging evidence indicates that majority of people who had been hospitalised because of Covid-19 experience symptoms, like fatigue and shortness of breath, months after being discharged from the healthcare facility, Kennedy said.

In Dubai, special clinics have been set up for these long Covid patients.


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The newly launched post-Covid-19 clinics would be open on Tuesdays at Al Barsha Health Centre and Thursdays at Nad Al Hammar, according to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). The service, however, is not for pregnant women and children under six years of age.

According to healthcare specialists, long-term debilitating effects are observed in about 30 per cent of patients who had been infected with the virus.

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“Since it’s a new disease, what we have learnt so far is that the symptoms can continue for three weeks or even for three to nine months and pose challenges for people experiencing it. It not only affects patients who were severely sick or hospitalised but, in many instances, it impacted the ones who remained asymptomatic during the infection,” Kennedy said.

“The most common lingering symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, cough or abdominal pain.”

Dr Hammad Khan, ER physician and head of emergency at Prime Hospital, said long-haulers are provided various types of treatment.

“Among the most common ones are breathing therapy, stamina training, attention and memory training, and improvement of general fitness,” said Dr Khan.

Dr Harkirat S Wilkhoo, lifestyle medicine specialist at RAK Hospital, added: “Long Covid symptoms are treated by supportive measures like lifestyle changes (nutrition, physiotherapy, exercise, stress management, dependency management), as well as conventional medicines and alternative medicine (homeopathy, ayurveda, naturopathy),”

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