University of Nebraska Medical Center

Every COVID Infection Increases Your Risk of Long COVID, Study Warns

Science Alert Vaccines ensure bouts of COVID are far less deadly than they were at the pandemic‘s start, yet multiple studies now suggest even seemingly mild cases of the coronavirus have a cost. With every single infection, our risk of long COVID increases.

While this risk starts (relatively) low for most of us, particularly those vaccinated and in younger people or children, there are concerning signs it may not stay low. If each new invasion of our bodies allows this insidious virus a greater chance to cause damage, such small risks will eventually add up to a big one.

Even if you only experience the symptom of the initial infection mildly.

“Each subsequent COVID infection will increase your risk of developing chronic health issues like diabetes, kidney disease, organ failure and even mental health problems,” physician Rambod Rouhbakhsh warned journalist Sara Berg in an American Medical Association podcast earlier this year.

“This dispels the myth that repeated brushes with the virus are mild and you don’t have to worry about it. It is akin to playing Russian roulette.”

Long COVID is defined as a multisystem disease that have a devastating effect on any organ system, with potentially lifelong consequences. Rates of long COVID among people who have contracted SARS-CoV-2 vary controversially between studies and regions, from about 10 percent to a staggering 50 percent of people who’ve had the virus reported as having long term symptoms.

Global estimates suggest 65 million people now suffer from long COVID. Luckily, children currently appear to be impacted at much lower rates, but they’re not entirely spared either.

So epidemiologist Benjamin Bowe and colleagues followed 138,818 US veterans with SAR-CoV-2 infections across 2 years, to learn more. Their data demonstrates that on reinfection patients had increased risk of long COVID in multiple organ systems.

The adverse health effects from two infections are worse than one, and three infections worse than two, the researchers explain. This means long COVID is cumulative, at least within this group of people and with this number of re-infections.

As their research is only based on US veterans affairs patients, it may not translate to everyone, but this is not the only study to find this concerning trend.

A study with much broader sampling involving people aged 18 and over across 10 Canadian provinces points to the same conclusion.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.