A medical worker injects a Covid-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination for retail workers in GOR Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta, on May 24, 2021. (B1 Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

What to Know About Long Covid, Benefits of Vaccine if Exposed to Virus


JUNE 04, 2021

Jakarta. Patients can still experience Covid-19 symptoms even after they have tested negative for the virus. 

A study by Indonesian Respirology Society shows Covid-19 symptoms can linger four weeks after catching the virus and getting negative test results. Some people experience the so-called "long Covid" much longer than others, while others recover much faster.

According to pulmonologist Chief Comr. Yahya, 53.7 percent of patients have symptoms for a month. Whereas 43.6 percent see these symptoms for 1-6 months. For the remaining 2.7 percent, it can persist beyond six months.

“Long Covid symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, aches and pains,cough, diarrhoea, as well as loss of smell or taste," Yahya said on Thursday.

In addition, male patients are susceptible to being a long-hauler due to their smoking habits. “Patients with severe symptoms or who managed to recover with the help of a ventilator also have a higher chance of suffering from long Covid,” he added.

Yahya noted how psychological factors could trigger this condition. “There is indeed a weakness in someone who gets anxious or depressed easily. These factors can cause someone to become a Covid long hauler.” 

The pulmonologist also advised those with prolonged Covid symptoms to seek medical attention. 

Udayana University virology expert I Gusti Ngurah Kade Mahardika warned people against underestimating Covid-19. 

"All tissues of the human body can be infected with the coronavirus. Long Covid puts patients at risk of damaging body tissues in the long term, which can cause  impaired immune response and nervous disorders. So please do not take Covid-19 lightly," Mahardika said.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 survivor Cahyandaru Kuncorojati shared his struggles of combating the virus. Not only did his body suffer, but Cahyandaru admitted to have also suffered psychologically.

"When I was treated along with my wife and two kids, I kept thinking of my children. I was determined to recover as soon as possible so I could take care of my children who are two years old and seven months old," he said.

And albeit his negative test results, Cahyandaru was still unable to smell or taste properly for at least a month. 

"My sense of smell gradually returned, but it is not as sharp as it used to be," he said.

Yahya suggested those who have lost their smell to sniff strong odors such as eucalyptus oil and extremely fragrant perfume.

"Practice everyday for quick recovery," he said.

Getting the Vaccine
Risks of catching the virus still haunt even for those who have gotten the Covid-19 jab. Even so, the fully vaccinated people are likely to only suffer from mild symptoms as the vaccine reduces risks of severe diseases and death, according to Mahardika.

"Vaccinated people are still at risk of an infection. Nonetheless, the number of viruses [invading the body] is far less than those who haven’t gotten a vaccine,” Mahardika said.

“We have found that fully-vaccinated patients can still catch the virus. Their symptoms, however, are very mild and their hospitalization only lasts a short while. These are the benefits of being fully vaccinated,” he added.

Cahyandaru also told his story of catching the virus despite already already getting a Covid shot.

“People should continue to comply with health protocols. Despite having gotten my first dose, I could still get Covid-19. But at least we can prevent severe diseases once vaccinated," he said.