New study: Post-Covid symptoms are common even after mild Covid-19

According to researchers at the University of Gothenburg, loss of smell and taste, shortness of breath and chest symptoms are the most common complaints after a mild Covid infection.

In a study made by the University of Gothenburg and published in Nature, roughly 10,000 employees in the Västra Götaland region answered a questionnaire about perceived health and the possible presence of 28 different symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, concentration difficulties and loss of smell and taste.

The responses, collected in the first quarter of 2021, were then linked to whether or not participants had tested positive for Covid-19 and related to symptoms in the past 30 days.

“When the study was planned, most studies on post-Covid symptoms were based on people who had been so seriously ill with Covid-19 that they needed hospital care. Our mission was to investigate the frequency of post-Covid among people who have not been seriously ill,” says Simon Larsson, Doctor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and researcher at Gothenburg University, to forskning.se.

“By far, the most specific symptom of Covid-19 was a loss of smell or taste, followed by shortness of breath and chest symptoms,” he says.

According to the researchers, the results from the study can constitute an essential piece of the puzzle about the knowledge of post-Covid symptoms and the effects of an infection on the health of people with a mild infection. In the next phase, they wish to investigate connections between various symptoms in people who feel that their health has been affected by Covid-19.

“It is important to determine the frequency of the problem and which symptoms you should specifically check for in this group. Many of the symptoms are also very common among people in general. It is also important to know whether specific patient groups are affected. For example, some studies have shown that vaccinated people have fewer problems in the long run. The participants in our study were unvaccinated,” says Simon Larsson.

The study has been published in Nature: “Self-reported symptom severity, general health, and impairment in post-acute phases of Covid-19: retrospective cohort study of Swedish public employees.”

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