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Clinic to help fight long Covid opens in Australia as experts warn thousands may suffer from debilitating physical and cognitive issues for YEARS after being infected with the virus
- A clinic has opened in Sydney dedicated to rehabilitating long Covid patients
- The specialised clinic at St Vincent's Hospital will be taking in referred patients
- Long Covid symptoms can range from shortness of breath to mental debilitation
- Scientists are still trying to understand all the long-term effects of Covid-19
One of Australia's first long Covid clinics has opened, treating suffers of the baffling condition as case numbers continue to surge.
The St Vincent's Hospital clinic in Sydney, which opened this week, is the first of its kind in New South Wales with a team of doctors set up to treat and rehabilitate people suffering lingering Covid symptoms.
Long Covid is when people previously infected with the virus suffer ongoing symptoms that go on longer than 12 weeks.
Some studies have shown as many as a third of all those infected with Covid suffer long-term symptoms, including brain fog, anxiety, fatigue and abnormal breathing.
Patients will be able to attend the clinic with a referral from their GP, as experts frantically work to help sufferers of the debilitating and mysterious condition.
Physical and mental exercises are used in long Covid clinics to help patients progressively regain their strength (pictured, Sydney's new clinic at St Vincent's Hospital)
St Vincent's Hospital (pictured) has opened the first clinic in New South Wales to treat patients with long Covid
Symptoms also include shortness of breath, memory and concentration problems, changes to smell and taste, joint pain and mental health issues.
There are already clinics in other parts of the world treating the lingering and disruptive symptoms.
'There are people we are seeing with just respiratory problems,' Dr Steven Faux, Director at the St Vincent's Rehabilitation Unit, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
'And there is another group of patients that might have respiratory symptoms, but also have muscle joint pains and mental health issues after being admitted to hospital and ICU with severe disease.
'There is still a significant amount we don't know about what causes long Covid, and why some people develop these chronic symptoms.'
The clinic will take in patients referred by doctors and GPs for treatment for long Covid (pictured, a patient in Sydney)
An American Covid expert, Dr Leonard Jason from DePaul University, Chicago, told Daily Mail recently that anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of Covid survivors continue to suffer at least some long-term symptoms.
He also said that one of the most notable traits of long Covid is its unpredictability.
'The 'classic' long hauler has a more diverse (random), far less predictable course, more diverse and random symptoms, with less of a pattern,' he said.
'It's as if you stuck your hand into a bag of symptoms and pulled out your own personal symptom constellation, or your own personal Da Vinci code.'
Deakin University's Institute for Health Transformation researched the effect of long Covid on public health before the Omicron wave in 2021.
'We calculated the impact of ‘long COVID’ as Australia opens up. Even without Omicron, we’re worried.' they said in a press release.
'Long COVID will increasingly drive the burden of Covid illness, even as death rates decline.'
WHAT IS LONG COVID?
Long Covid is used to refer to coronavirus symptoms which persist for months after the original infection.
A person is considered to have long Covid if their symptoms continue longer than four weeks after the initial infection.
Sufferers can experience a range of symptoms including extreme tiredness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and changes to taste and smell among others.