What happens when the effects of Covid-19 linger for weeks or even months?
The Covid-19 virus may interfere with our ability to get or renew a pilot medical, and that’s very scary news for those of us who earn a living flying aircraft. Medical experts initially thought that the virus was “simply” a respiratory illness, but the passage of time has most definitely debunked that theory.
All that we really know now is that we don’t really know what this virus is capable of. At first, children were safe, but now they are suffering from a related mystery illness. At first, it just caused pneumonia, but now it attacks everywhere in the body. At first, we were just concerned about the elderly and people who were already sick, but now we realize that nobody is safe.
One of the scariest discoveries is the fact that patients can be affected long after the virus appears to move on. The latest projections are that recovered patients may continue to feel the effects for months, or even years, after the initial illness.
There are many complaints that seem to linger in coronavirus survivors- anything from mild annoyances to full-blown “can’t even get out of bed” exhaustion. Lung scarring is one of the more serious complications and it can lead to physical exhaustion for many months after recovery. The frightening part is that we don’t really know how long these complaints will last because the virus is just too new.
Support groups have been created on social media platforms to give survivors a place to go to compare notes and find hope amidst their fears. But this is where the enormity of the problem becomes apparent. Head to toe complaints are reported….anxiety, heart palpitations, muscle aches, blue toes, loss of taste and smell, extreme fatigue, insomnia, and blood clots, to name a few.
Lungs, heart, kidneys and even the brain can be affected. Some patients develop blood clots and some show signs of liver damage. Some are sent home with blood thinners for indefinite periods of time. Doctors have reported many cases of inflammation of the heart and irregular heartbeats, both of which can lead to heart failure.
When doctors are asked when these symptoms might disappear, they simply say they don’t know the answer. Nobody wants to hear that when they’re too exhausted to get out of bed, but for a professional pilot, it can be life changing.
Some survivors even require oxygen therapy or dialysis at home after they leave the hospital. We just don’t really know what we’re up against here. As the country begins to re-open, we will have to wait and see how this plays out.
Nobody knows how this pandemic will affect the economy, but one thing is for sure. All of these “medical after effects” will spell absolute disaster for professional pilots who require a pilot medical to earn a living. I hope the medical experts get a handle on this asap. People's lives, and livelihoods, are at stake here.
- Exhaustion, uncertainty mark coronavirus survivors' journeys
- Fever, fatigue, fear: For some recorvering COVID-19 patients
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