Covid-19 SA: Long Covid clinics established to help sufferers

Those who suffer the effects of long Covid could have access to specialist care to help fight their illness.South Australians will have access to four clinics to help treat those suffering the effects of long Covid.The clinics will be established – including one at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre – as part of the state government’s efforts in supporting those affected.The Women’s and Children’s Hospital will offer a specialist service to care for children suffering from long Covid.All patients with symptoms – such as fatigue, brain fog, muscle aches and pains and mental health issues – after 12 weeks of their infection can be referred to a clinic once they consult their general practitioner.Once referred to a clinic, patients will be triaged, assessed and undergo testing by specialist staff and will later receive a comprehensive care plan. Over the past three weeks, 50 people have presented to the Royal Adelaide Hospital alone feeling the effects of long Covid. Health Minister Chris Picton said those who had received three doses of the vaccine were less likely to contract the post viral syndrome, and urged residents to get their booster. Deputy chief public health officer Emily Kirkpatrick said it was important those who still had symptoms four weeks after their infection see their GP. “(This can) impair their ability to function normally pre-Covid and they have trouble performing activities of daily living such as working and caring for family,” she said.Renjy Nelson from Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) said vaccination reduced the impact of long Covid. The infectious disease consultant said a reduction of patients was anticipated in Australia compared to other countries because the nation was so well vaccinated, but said there was no certainty. “People who were very fit prior to (Covid) are now seeing themselves unable to climb flights of stairs, with aches and pains, with some degree of cognitive decline, or smell disorders,” Dr Nelson said.“Some of what we’re seeing is exacerbation of already underlying diseases, like mild sleep apnoea syndrome now (presenting as) severe apnoea syndrome.“Long Covid is an entity we need to be aware of … there are at least two to three million people around the world that are suffering from it.”Originally published as State’s massive step to cure long Covid