La Jornada – Prevent neurological sequelae in 15% of those who suffer from covid

Mexico City. Aurora, 28, was infected in the first wave of covid-19 and is still facing multiple consequences. “In three months it will be two years since I got infected, but it was worse for me with the consequences. I suffer from kidney damage, bronchospasm, ear inflammation, hair loss and allergies. My immune system went haywire.”

It also presents mental fog, which according to neurology experts from Columbia University, United States, is a neurological syndrome that generates memory loss, problems associating words with objects, lack of concentration and difficulty performing simple tasks.

Neuroscience doctor Lucía Ledesma Torres, national head of Mental Health of the Health Regulatory Directorate of the Institute of Security and Social Services of State Workers (Issste), said that it is estimated that about 15 percent of the people who have had covid-19 will face neurological, neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive sequelae.

In interview with the day, pointed out that those who present these symptoms should remain in preventive follow-up and have a general examination after infection. In the case of the omicron variant, “the discomforts are usually, although not generally, milder, and in that sense the neuropsychiatric, neurocognitive and neurological effects are not so obvious, but research in this regard is lacking.”

In mid-2020, the Pan American Health Organization issued the first epidemiological alert on the neurological complications and sequelae of covid-19. He pointed out that the effects are not only at the pulmonary level, there is also damage to the central nervous system.

However, it was not until last October that the World Health Organization (WHO) published the first official clinical definition of post-Covid-19 disease, which includes fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction and other symptoms that affect daily functioning. .

Janet Díaz, head of WHO Clinical Management, indicated that the sequelae “may be of new appearance after the initial recovery from an acute episode, or they may persist from the onset of the disease. In addition, symptoms may also fluctuate or relapse over time.”

Antonio is 27 years old and in January 2021 he was infected. “I did not have a serious illness, I hardly felt discomfort, but on the fourth day I lost my sense of smell and hearing on the left side, which I recovered weeks later; but I have not smelled like before. The doctors don’t know how to explain what I have. No one can tell me if I’ll have a normal sense of smell again, plus I feel tired.”

Javier, 40, who presented moderate symptoms last March, said: “I came out of the infection without a problem, but after a few days I realized that I was forgetting basic words like table, door, glass. He knew what they were, but had forgotten how to pronounce them. Almost a year has passed and these episodes have reduced, but they have not completely disappeared.

The Mexican Social Security Institute reported 220,907 people with post-Covid sequelae treated until the third quarter of 2021, with physical and mental effects. Some of the discomforts that patients present are: shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, tiredness or fatigue after low-impact physical activities, cough, chest, head or muscle pain; palpitations, memory, concentration or sleeping problems.

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