Image: Long COVID Project Officer, Ambereen Farouque.
Have you heard of Long COVID? In countries that have experienced high numbers of COVID-19 infections, these post-COVID symptoms, that can last for months after the initial infection, are becoming a public health concern.
There are more than 200 symptoms of Long COVID, but the most common ones are:
- shortness of breath
- concentration/memory issues
- changes in mood – anxiety, depression, stress, feelings of guilt
- loss of smell or taste
- sleep issues
- heart pounding/palpitations/racing heart/chest pain
- skin rashes
- muscle aches and joint pains
Whether people experience these symptoms is unrelated how unwell they were when infected. It is not rare to find young people who had few symptoms when infected and suffer from long-term symptoms for weeks afterwards.
In Europe and in the US, reports abound of people unable to return to work, needing to sleep 20 hours a day, becoming out of breath through the simple act of talking. Alarmingly between 10 and 35% of people who have been infected with COVID-19 will experience Long COVID symptoms.
In response to this, CEH has been funded by the Victorian Department of Health to raise awareness about Long COVID in 10 culturally diverse communities across six Local Government Areas. These communities were selected due to the number of COVID-19 cases they recorded in the past year.
The project includes the dissemination of a simple, translated fact sheet and audio recordings of the same information for communities with limited literacy. The second part of the project involves training bicultural workers across the ten target communities to increase their understanding of Long COVID, and therefore their ability to share information with their community.
In parallel to this, the Department of Health is supporting a similar project with health professionals, to increase their ability to identify and respond to Long COVID symptoms.
To deliver this project, CEH has employed a new Project Officer Ambereen Farouque. Ambereen comes to the role with experience as a medical practitioner and public health researcher, and is a founding and board member of the Muslim Health Professionals Australia – a network created last year in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Read more about Long COVID here.