• Jiji


Japan is starting to learn more about COVID-19 aftereffects, with symptoms ranging widely, from fatigue to taste disorder and hair loss, including some that linger for more than a year.

After facing a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases during the fifth infection wave this summer, Japan may see a spike in the number of those suffering aftereffects.

Specialist physicians are urging people to see a doctor in the early stages if they suspect that they are suffering post COVID-19 conditions.

Although some reports suggest that 10% of those infected with the coronavirus will have subsequent complications, many things are not known about the aftereffects, including the development mechanisms.

According to the results of multiple surveys in Japan, many cases of aftereffects included fatigue and shortness of breath. Taste and smell disorders and drops in concentration were also common.

Some people reported aching joints, hair loss, sleeping disorders, fever and dizziness.

According to a survey by the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, women were twice more likely than men to develop fatigue and three times more prone to hair loss.

Younger people and those of slender build were also more likely to develop taste and smell disorders.

One in every four people experienced aftereffects six months after COVID-19 infection and one in every 10 people suffered subsequent complications a year after being infected with the virus.

In a survey conducted by Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward covering around 3,700 people who had been infected, including those showing no symptoms, around half of respondents said they suffered aftereffects.

Many people age 10 to 39 suffered impaired sense of smell, while many age 40 or over experienced fatigue.

Research by a health ministry group found that six months after being diagnosed with COVID-19, 21% of people complained of fatigue and 11% suffered declines in concentration.

“Assuming that 10% of COVID-19 patients in Japan suffer aftereffects, there is a chance that at least 170,000 people are suffering secondary conditions as there are over 1.7 million COVID-19 patients across the nation,” said Koichi Hirahata, head of a clinic in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, which has examined over 3,000 COVID-19 patients suspected of suffering aftereffects. Aftereffects “are not uncommon,” he stressed.

Around 95% of patients who visited the clinic complained of fatigue, with many of them saying that their bodies felt extremely heavy.

Many such people became unable to work as they did before. Some reported at least 10 symptoms.

“The first and most important thing is to get (COVID-19) vaccinations and thoroughly implement precautions so as not to be infected,” Hirahata said.

He called on people to visit a doctor specializing in aftereffects or a family doctor promptly if they feel tired or display any other symptoms, and get appropriate treatment.

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