Most people who get Covid-19 will develop only the main symptoms – a cough or fever. But they could experience body aches, fatigue, sore throat and headache.
The cough is initially dry, but some people will eventually start coughing up mucus containing dead lung cells killed by the virus. These symptoms are treated with bed rest, plenty of fluids and pain relief such as paracetamol.
Factoring in the incubation time for the novel coronavirus in humans, it is estimated that she might have contracted the virus 7-14 days before showing symptoms. This means she took at least 39 days to recover from Covid-19.
The disease can become much more serious for some. This tends to happen about seven to 10 days into the infection.
The transformation can be sudden. Breathing becomes difficult and the lungs get inflamed. This is because although the body’s immune system is trying to fight back – it’s actually overreacting and the body experiences collateral damage.
Some people will need to be in hospital for oxygen therapy. GP Sarah Jarvis says: “The shortness of breath may take some considerable time to improve… the body is getting over scarring and inflammation.”
The WHO estimates one person in 20 will need intensive care treatment, which can include being sedated and put on a ventilator.
It will take time to recover from any spell in an intensive or critical care unit (ICU), no matter what the illness. Patients are moved to a regular ward before going home.
Dr Alison Pittard, Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, says it can take 12 to 18 months to get back to normal after any spell in critical care.
The current estimates of recovery from Covid-19 are based on easing of symptoms and two consecutive negative tests of samples. But there is another issue. Since the virus is new, its long-term effects on human body and hence recovery, are not yet understood.
Novel coronavirus too causes tiredness, ache in muscles, joints and head, burning in lungs, weakness in muscles and reduced immunity. Health experts say patients with serious conditions due to novel coronavirus infection may take 12-18 months to recover fully.
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