Cough after covid and other common complications after SARS-CoV-2 infection

Cough after covid and other common complications after SARS-CoV-2 infection

After several hard days of illness, you take a test for coronavirus and finally have a negative result. You rejoice and if it weren’t for the total weakness you would jump up to the ceiling with joy. Okay – you think to yourself – it will get better. Days pass, weeks pass and… all in all, not much has changed.

Although the infection is long behind you, you don’t feel better at all. Unfortunately, but complications after COVID-19 can last for several weeks or even several months. Read the article and learn more about it!

The most common complications after COVID-19

Complications after COVID-19 can be both mild and severe. The most common complications after COVID-19 include:

  • pneumonia and permanent lung tissue damage;
  • chronic fatigue,
  • cough,
  • memory and concentration problems known as covid fog,
  • smell and taste disorders;
  • muscle and joint pain,
  • hair loss.

Complications after Covid in children (PIMS)

Complications after covid in children can manifest as paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS), also known as postcovid syndrome. Statistics show that PIMS is extremely rare in children and adolescents – an average of one child per 1,000 infected with coronavirus. What may be of concern, however, is that postcovid syndrome can also develop in children who have passed the infection mildly or asymptomatically.

Read more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of PIMS.

Respiratory complications

Respiratory complications are the most common, as it is the respiratory system that is attacked by the coronavirus in the first place and is the most affected by the infection. Respiratory complications include:

  • cough;
  • shortness of breath;
  • shortness of breath (rapid fatigue);
  • chest pain;
  • pneumonia;
  • permanent damage to lung tissue.

Cough after COVID-19

Long-lasting cough after COVID-19 is the most common respiratory complication. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 infection, there is a dry cough. This type of cough is caused by damage to the epithelium that lining the airways. We feel it as irritation – hence the cough reflex. Dry cough after COVID-19 is a normal symptom. If it is not accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, fever, it does not require specialized treatment.

On the other hand, if the cough after COVID-19 changes from a dry cough to a wet cough, a doctor should be consulted. A wet cough means that secretions are collecting in the bronchi and/or lungs, for which bacteria are probably responsible. This symptom is also often accompanied by fever.

Cough after covid – how long does it last?

Cough after SARS-CoV-2 can last for several weeks or even several months. In most cases, the symptom usually lasts 2-4 weeks. How long the cough lasts after covid depends on a number of factors, including the condition of the patient’s lungs, individual immunity and lifestyle (such as whether the patient smokes).

Covid pneumonia

Covid pneumonia is a condition in which a virus damages the alveoli responsible for gas exchange. This, in turn, can lead to respiratory failure, which poses a serious threat to health and even life and requires urgent hospitalization. On top of this, weakened lungs are more susceptible to other types of infections, so bacterial superinfections can occur. In such a situation, further diagnosis and implementation of appropriate treatment, such as antibiotics, is necessary. Lungs after covida can sometimes be permanently damaged. Fibrosis of the lung tissue develops and respiratory capacity decreases.

Covid pneumonia – symptoms:

  • fever,
  • cough,
  • shortness of breath,
  • muscle pain,
  • significant weakness.

Covidien pneumonia is a common complication especially in people who have comorbidities (you’ll learn more about who is at higher risk of serious complications later in this article).

Cardiovascular (embolic and thrombotic) complications

The most dangerous complication from the cardiovascular side is embolic-thrombotic incidents. The inflammation caused by coronavirus can lead to the formation of microemboli. They appear most often in the alveoli, but can also form in any other part of the body. The high mortality rate of COVID-19 patients was due precisely to embolic complications. Learn more about thrombosis.

Other cardiovascular complications after COVID-19:

  • chest pain,
  • palpitations,
  • arrhythmia,
  • coronary syndrome,
  • changes in blood pressure,
  • stroke,
  • permanent damage to the heart muscle.

Psychoneurological complications after COVID-19

Complications after COVID-19 from the nervous system generally do not pose a serious health risk, but can significantly hamper daily functioning.

Headache and dizziness after COVID-19

Headaches that persist for up to weeks are the most common nervous system complication. It may also be accompanied by dizziness.

Brain fog

An equally common complication from the neurological system is the so-called brain fog. It manifests itself in problems with concentration, memory and a general decrease in mental performance. Sometimes there are also sleep disorders such as problems falling asleep, insomnia, and frequent waking at night.

The most common psychoneurological complications after coronavirus:

  • brain fog,
  • deterioration of sleep quality;
  • anxiety and depressive states.

Chronic fatigue syndrome after COVID-19

Many people after undergoing SARS-CoV-2 have reported a range of long-lasting symptoms that are characteristic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Chronic fatigue syndrome includes symptoms such as:

  • fatigue that does not go away after rest;
  • malaise;
  • sleep problems;
  • cognitive disorders;
  • depressive and anxiety disorders.

We speak of chronic fatigue syndrome when symptoms persist for more than 6 weeks.

Rarer complications after COVID-19

Rare complications after Covid include:

  • Disturbed perception of tastes and smells – some people’s taste and smell perception changes after experiencing covid. For example, smells that were previously pleasant to us now bother us. Some patients also reported feeling certain smells even though they had no physical source. For example, someone smelled cigarette smoke even though no one was smoking nearby.
  • Urinary tract disorders – kidney damage.
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome – a complication that results in damage to peripheral nerves, leading to muscle weakness. It is particularly dangerous because it can affect the muscles responsible for breathing.
  • Hair loss – COVID-19 infection is a stressful situation for the body, which may be manifested precisely by hair loss. In addition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies may occur during the course of the disease, which also promotes hair loss.
  • Skin changes – a rash after COVID-19 can be one of the symptoms of coronavirus, but sometimes it appears only after the SARS-CoV-2 infection has passed.

Risk groups – who is at higher risk for severe complications?

Factors that increase the risk of severe complications after contracting COVID-19:

  • age – older people not only undergo coronavirus infection more severely, but are also at higher risk of complications;
  • smoking;
  • cancer;
  • type 1 or type 2 diabetes;
  • obesity;
  • hypertension;
  • heart disease;
  • chronic kidney disease;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • asthma;
  • sickle cell anemia;
  • cystic fibrosis;
  • weakened immune system, such as HIV infection;
  • a history of stroke.


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