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37% of COVID-19 patients show at least one long-term symptom, study finds

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At least one long-term COVID-19 symptom was found in 37 per cent of patients three to six months after they were infected by the virus, a large study from Oxford University and the National Institute for Health Research showed on Wednesday.

The most common symptoms included breathing problems, fatigue, pain and anxiety, Oxford University said, after investigating symptoms in over 270,000 people recovering from COVID-19.

Read more: Tens of thousands experiencing ‘long COVID-19’ symptoms in Ontario, science group says

The symptoms were more frequent among people who had been previously hospitalized with COVID-19 and were slightly more common among women, according to the study.

The study did not provide any detailed causes of long-COVID symptoms, their severity, or how long they could last.

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It, however, said older people and men had more breathing difficulties and cognitive problems, whereas young people and women had more headaches, abdominal symptoms and anxiety or depression.

Read more: Fully vaccinated people are half as likely to develop ‘Long COVID’ symptoms: study

“We need to identify the mechanisms underlying the diverse symptoms that can affect survivors,” said Oxford University professor Paul Harrison, who headed the study.

“This information will be essential if the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 are to be prevented or treated effectively,” Harrison added.

— Reporting by Tapanjana Rudra in Bengaluru

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