Fatigue, insomnia among symptoms of post-COVID syndrome – Health DG

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR – Fatigue, difficulty in breathing during activities (exertional dyspnea), insomnia, cough and anxiety are five common symptoms experienced by former COVID-19 patients, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The condition is known as ‘Post-Covid Syndrome’, as stated in the guidelines of ‘Long COVID’ published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), United Kingdom on Dec 18 last year, he said.

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The syndrome is a condition shown by former COVID-19 patients who still show symptoms for a period of 12 weeks or more, and the symptoms cannot be explained through any form of alternative diagnosis.

“This condition is caused by complications of COVID-19 infection on the function of various organs in an individual’s body.

“Generally, clinical data shows that the majority of COVID-19 patients in Malaysia are able to fully recover, however, there are a few who are affected by Post-COVID Syndrome,” he said in a statement today.

He said according to a clinical study conducted by the MOH, involving 1,004 patients from categories 4 and 5 who received follow-up treatment, 66 per cent had the syndrome.

To date, the treatment offered is based on the symptoms shown by the patient (symptomatic relief) and the body functions involved.

Dr Noor Hisham said referrals to relevant areas of expertise would be made to ensure patients received optimal clinical treatment, apart from continuing clinical studies to understand and identify the effects of the syndrome.

“Therefore, COVID-19 patients who are discharged from the hospital will be given follow-up appointments and they are reminded to attend them according to the set date.

“As for former COVID-19 patients who still have symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical advice and treatment at a nearby clinic or hospital”, he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said it was important to maintain the health of a former COVID-19 patient at the best level possible and to reduce any long-term complications that can reduce the quality of life and productivity of a person.

As such, he said it was very important for each individual to be protected from the dangers of COVID-19 and to register for the vaccine in order to reduce the risk of serious infection.