HuffPost: Is there any way to reduce your risk of long COVID if you get sick?

UC expert says early diagnosis and treatment are essential

Since the start of the pandemic two years ago, it’s become more and more difficult to avoid COVID-19, especially as the virus has mutated to become more contagious. We know that high-quality masks help and vaccination drastically reduces our odds of contracting the coronavirus and developing serious illness.

But given the nature of extremely contagious respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, infectious disease specialists say that most of us will, at some point, get infected. And as the reality of living with endemic COVID sets in, many of us have grown increasingly concerned about getting long COVID if and when that infection occurs.

In a story on long COVID posted by HuffPost, Richard Becker, MD, professor and director, UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute and UC Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease at the UC College of Medicine was one of the experts cited.

Richard Becker, MD, professor and director, UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute and UC Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease

Richard Becker, MD, professor and director, UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute and UC Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease/Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand

HuffPost reported because doctors are still researching what causes long COVID in the first place, we don’t have any treatments specifically designed to prevent long COVID. As of now, the best way to prevent a lingering case of COVID — aside from not getting COVID in the first place — is to get vaccinated and start treatment as soon as possible if you do get sick.

"Vaccination and possibly early use of oral antiviral drugs are the most tangile and science-based means to prevent long COVID," Becker said. 

The oral antivirals available to treat COVID should be started within five days of symptom onset. The monoclonal antibody infusion is designed to start within seven days. These medications arrest viral replication and reduce the amount of virus in your body.

“Early diagnosis and treatment with oral antiviral medication or possibly polyclonal antibody may be particularly important for preventing long COVID. This may be the case even for infections producing mild or mild-to-moderate symptoms,” Becker said.

Read the entire story here

Becker was also cited as a source in a story on long COVID published by the Tampa Bay Times. See that coverage here

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