Teens and young adults report more Long Covid problems

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Some 3% of Dutch adults over the age of 25 say they continued to experience problems after a coronavirus infection, but the figure is far higher – 5% – for teenagers and young adults, according to new research by public health institute RIVM.

Almost a quarter of older adults and one in five of the youngsters who reported having Long Covid symptoms said they felt extremely restricted in their daily lives. Exhaustion, memory loss and concentration problems and shortness of breath were among the main symptoms they reported.

In particular, older adults said it was difficult for them to carry out their responsibilities, such as doing household chores or working.

The research also shows that 36% of older adults and 39% of youngsters had been diagnosed with Long or Post-Covid by their family doctor.

“The coronavirus pandemic has created a long-lasting crisis,” the RIVM said. “Little is known about the consequences of slow, long-lasting crises.”

The research has been carried out by a network made up of the RIVM, regional health boards and other bodies. The aim is to help policymakers take effective measures during this a future similar crises, the RIVM said.

Dutch researchers said in January they have discovered that persistent fatigue in patients with Long Covid has a biological cause –  their muscle cells produce less energy than those in healthy patients. 

The Netherlands has various initiatives underway into Long Covid, which has affected up to 100,000 people. 

In December preparations began in the Netherlands to launch a major research project to find out if existing medicines can ease the symptoms of Long Covid.

The researchers will look at the impact of a large number of cheap, readily available drugs, such as Metformin, a medicine against diabetes.

Government money

The project is one of the initiatives applying for a Dutch health ministry grant for research into Long Covid. The government has set aside €32 million to fund such projects.

In February MPs voted to allocate €27 million to set up special clinics where people with Long Covid can go for treatment and advice.

Former health minister Ernst Kuipers had refused to allocate cash to fund specialist centres, saying it was up to hospitals and insurance companies to do so. But hospitals, in turn, said they could not take action without extra funding.

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