A new online resource has been launched to help Nova Scotians suffering with lingering COVID-19 symptoms long after they’re no longer infectious.
In a media release Wednesday, Nova Scotia Health (NSH) said the website, MyCOVIDRecoveryNS.ca, will provide the most up-to-date information available about managing and/or treating persistent symptoms of COVID-19. It will include trusted information on common symptoms and where to go for more support,
As the Halifax Examiner reported in June, an unknown number of Nova Scotians suffer with long-haul COVID, also referred to as post-acute COVID-19 syndrome. Lingering symptoms vary from person-to-person, and NSH provided the following list to highlight some of them:
Trouble breathing or shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, trouble concentrating, brain fog or memory problems, feeling stressed, anxious, worried, sad or depressed, withdrawing from friends or activities, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, loss of smell or taste, diarrhea and constipation, headaches, chest pain, tightness or palpitations, joint or muscle pain, symptoms that get worse after physical activity or a sense of loss or grief.
“Recovering from COVID-19 is different for everyone, and it does not matter how old you are or how healthy you were before you got COVID-19,” Dr. Christy Bussey, medical lead for the QEII COVID-19 inpatient service at NSH, said in the news release.
“Some people feel better in a few weeks. For others, it may take months. Our hope is that this website will help individuals navigate their journey and support them as they work with their health care providers toward recovery.”
When Dartmouth resident Joe Cullen was struggling with overwhelming fatigue and shortness of breath months after getting COVID-19 in April of 2020, he said this resource would’ve been invaluable.
“This is just fantastic. I think it’s awesome that they’re doing this…Obviously it couldn’t have been available last year, but had it been it really would have been amazing for me personally,” Cullen said of the new resource.
“Back literally a year ago it was more of a panic for me not knowing if this was going to be the new normal for my body, aka if I’m going to have to live like this for the rest of my life, or if there are ways through it, or what procedures I’d need to get it checked out, how do you move forward, that kind of stuff.”
Cullen said although he is feeling much better than he did even five months ago when it comes to his breathing, he continues to struggle with smaller issues as a result of last year’s COVID-19 infection.
In light of Nova Scotia having so many more infected during this third wave of the virus, Cullen expects the new online resource to be well-used.
“There are plenty of people in Nova Scotia who can use this bit of help because (the spring) was a little insane and I doubt everyone (who was infected) is 100% after that,” he said. “Having the recognition and then resources to help is pretty cool.”
The My COVID Recovery NS welcome page notes that recovering from COVID-19 is different for everyone and how old or how healthy you were before is irrelevant.
“Some people feel better in a few weeks. For others, it may take months,” the page states.
The website includes a symptom tracker, information for family, friends, caregivers and health care providers, and sections on staying well, getting help, and managing other conditions.
In a section titled ‘When will I feel better?’ visitors are told recovery time isn’t related to whether or not you were hospitalized due to COVID-19 or how bad your infection was.
“Most people diagnosed with COVID-19 notice a big improvement in their symptoms within 14 days (2 weeks), but recovery can last from days to months. 30 to 50% of people may have symptoms for longer than 12 weeks (3 months),” the site states.
“We do not know how long COVID-19 symptoms will last. Research is still being done. You can expect your recovery to happen slowly over time.”
Further resources are provided for those whose COVID-19-related symptoms are getting worse, for those who’ve had them longer than one month, and if symptoms are affecting the ability to complete daily tasks.
The website is designed for people in Nova Scotia who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 and who are older than 16. NSH advises those under the age of 16 who are experiencing ongoing COVID-19 symptoms post-infection to contact the IWK Health Centre.
“Research is still being done as there is a lot that we still do not know. The resources on the website will continue to evolve as our understanding of post COVID-19 symptoms and treatments evolve,” Alyson Lamb, senior director COVID-19 Implementation and Planning at NSH, said in the release.
“We want those impacted by COVID-19 to know that we are here to support them on their journey to recovery.”
NSH described the new website as “one of a number of tools and resources” they’re working on to help long haulers work towards recovery and to also support health care providers and teams caring for patients.
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