We’ve known for a while that patients who’ve been infected with COVID-19 can experience breathing difficulties and other complaints long after they’ve recovered from the illness itself (though how long those could last remains to be seen). What is just coming to light, however, are possible extended effects on a patient’s mental state and cognitive functioning. And it goes way beyond “COVID fog.” According to an article published by Lancet Public Health, patients who experienced severe COVID-19 that did not require hospitalization are at increased risk for symptoms of depression and poor sleep quality (prevalence ration 1.18 and 1.13, respectively) compared with patients who were never diagnosed with COVID-19. Those who were bedridden for more than 7 days—but, again, were not hospitalized—were at greatest risk. In addition, a study published by the journal Nature reveals that the brain scans of recovered COVID patients showed more gray matter shrinkage and tissue damage than patients who have not had COVID. Beyond their specific results, both studies constitute evidence that long-term effects of COVID-19 infection are still emerging. Urgent care providers should be vigilant for these and other symptoms in patients with a history of COVID-19 and be prepared to assess and advise accordingly.

Be Alert for Nonphysical Symptoms Starting to Emerge in the Wake of COVID-19 Infection
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