Coronavirus: What happens after recovery?
May 30, 2020 | Farah Jassawalla

Coronavirus: What happens after recovery?

اردو میں پڑھیں 

An important concern for anyone infected with the virus is the recovery process - what does it mean to recover? According to Johns Hopkins University, over one million people around the world have recovered from the coronavirus. The road to recovery, however, looks different for everyone. The first aspect of recovery is the duration, and that depends a lot on how you got sick in the first place, your age, gender, and overall health issues. These determinants ascertain how at-risk you are, which, in turn, determines how long you will stay sick. Nonetheless, Shifa4U believes that it is essential for you to continue following health guidelines to avoid getting sick. If you do begin to feel sick, please self-isolate or otherwise get tested. 


For a mild illness, the recovery time is determined by the World Health Organization (WHO), from analysis of data from China, to be roughly two weeks. However, if someone has been impacted severely – according to WHO, one in twenty people will require intensive care treatment – their recovery is more unpredictable. But in any case, recovery may take 12 to 18 months after having received intensive care treatment, according to Dr. Alison Pittard, the Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine. Depending on the case, recovery may take time, but the question then becomes, how does a person go back to their normal life, and how does their recovery impact everyone else? If the case was mild or asymptomatic, the patient will return to their normal life in no time, but if the case was more serious and led to breathing difficulty or pneumonia, then it may be weeks before they can return to normal daily activities such as walking or breathing normally. Full recovery and return of all body functions, as mentioned before, will take 12 to 18 months, but within a few weeks after hospital/medical discharge, patients mostly begin to feel normal. 


There were troubling cases that arose in April: 111 cases in South Korea, which reported recovered individuals being readmitted to hospitals due to them being "re-infected". This caused great panic; however, the truth of the matter is the information concerning the coronavirus takes time to be verified because it is a novel virus. Initially, South Korean scientists and WHO thought that re-infections may very well be a real possibility, but re-infections were ruled out as errors when it was discovered that the re-infection cases were merely false positives.


The hopeful scenario that scientists are looking for is the reaction of the body towards the virus. In other strains of the coronavirus (SARS and MERS), the bodies of afflicted individuals produce antibodies that provide immunity against the virus for a given period. However, researchers are still looking for evidence that it is the same case with SARS-CoV-2.

 Ideally, the body produces antibodies in response to being afflicted by the virus, which prevents patients from getting the virus again soon. The body usually takes around seven to 10 days after encountering the virus to produce the antibodies, according to Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the University of Texas. 


The resolution of the COVID-19 outbreak seems a long time away throughout the world, and it is predicted that without a vaccine, a much deadlier wave of COVID-19 could occur in the seasons of fall and winter. As a result, it is highly advised that you follow all medical and government health guidelines to not only protect yourself but those around you too. Social distancing is imperative in defeating COVID-19, so please maintain two meters with anyone else, especially when you are out in public. If you start to experience mild symptoms, stay at home and tell your close ones to take precautions and if you begin to feel more severe symptoms including shortness of breath, then you should consult a doctor and get yourself tested. If you need any other advice or are looking for a consultation, Shifa4U has online health services for you.


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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.