The Children"s Hospital of Shanghai has set up special clinics for children to help with post-COVID rehabilitation. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Several Shanghai hospitals have opened special clinics aimed at helping people address common health issues like fatigue, cough and sore throat that persist even after their antigen tests for COVID-19 have turned negative.

Among the medical institutions that have done so is the Children's Hospital of Shanghai. Jiang Kun, chief physician of the respiratory department of the hospital, said the clinic opened on Jan 4 after the hospital found that there were still some children suffering from symptoms even though they no longer tested positive.

The clinic, which is open on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, was fully booked on the first day of operations.

Jiang said doctors at the clinic conduct a comprehensive evaluation of patients' health conditions before designing customized rehabilitation plans.

The Children's Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai has also set up an immunity evaluation clinic for children who've contracted COVID-19. The main aim of the clinic is to provide scientific consultation and treatment by evaluating patients' immunity after infection for at least two weeks.

"The immune system plays an important role in fending off the virus. It is also one of the key factors affecting the prognosis," said Wang Xiaochuan, director of the immunity department of the hospital. "A small number of children will develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome after infection, and this might cause immunity-related issues."

The syndrome is a rare but serious condition associated with the novel coronavirus, and Wang said doctors need to pay closer attention to post-COVID conditions.

The Shanghai No 7 People's Hospital told local news portal ThePaper.cn that it opened a special clinic for post-COVID rehabilitation for adults on Jan 1, after discovering that some of its patients still had symptoms such as a lingering cough and breathing problems after turning negative. Some have even developed problems including insomnia and anxiety.

The clinic said its rehab plan revolves around improving cardiopulmonary function as well as physical and mental health while restoring balance to the immune system. The rehab also includes evaluations on cardiopulmonary capacity, mental well-being and sleep quality.

Some medical institutions have leveraged traditional Chinese medicine therapies to help people fully recover.

The Children's Hospital of Shanghai has set up a traditional Chinese medicine clinic for post-COVID rehab.

Operated by the hospital's TCM department, the clinic offers online and in-person consultations, as well as TCM treatments such as massage, acupuncture, moxibustion and diet therapy.

Some community clinics also offer TCM therapies, such as the Dinghai Community Clinic in Yangpu district. Chen Xiaoyan, a TCM physician, said the clinic has prescribed TCM therapies for over 300 people since late December. Most of these, she noted, were suffering from post-COVID-19 symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.

"TCM considers the different causes that may exist behind the same symptoms and we TCM practitioners need to tell what is causing the symptoms and give precise treatment. This is the core concept of TCM practitioners in treating post-COVID-19 symptoms," Chen said.

Chen said that since early last year, the hospital has been researching ways to prevent, treat and rehabilitate COVID-19 patients. In addition to medical prescriptions, the hospital also provides them with dietary recommendations and breathing exercises to help with a full recovery.

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