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The link between long covid and working from home

With working from home becoming the new normal, medical experts warn that excessive screen time due to online work schedules may exacerbate long covid symptoms.

“Research has shown that prolonged online work without a break can make long covid symptoms last longer. There isn’t a problem working online, however screen time needs to be regulated,” Dr Waruna Gunathilake, Consultant Physician at The National Hospital in Sri Lanka (NHSL) said at a media briefing yesterday (13).

He also added that all is not lost and simple treatments can help overcome symptoms.

“There is a thing called smell training. This is good for those who have not regained their sense of smell and taste. This can be done with the use of fragrant flowers, or clove and cardamom oil. This can help people regain their sense of smell and taste,” Dr Gunathilake advised.

Dr Gunathilake additionally said that for those who suffer from lack of sleep, the reduction in caffeine, limited use of mobile phones and electronic gadgets is a must.

As for those with breathing difficulties and dizziness, Dr Gunathilake advised patients to practice breathing exercises and to “wake up gradually, and not in a hurry” in the morning.

“Symptoms can be resolved with simple treatments, if these instructions are followed,” concluded Dr Gunathilake

Studies have shown an estimated 10% to 30% of covid infected people could get long covid. Long covid is the term used by professionals for those who have persistent covid symptoms continuing for even after 12 weeks.

Long covid symptoms include fatigue, headache, loss of smell or taste, persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pains, muscle pains and forgetfulness to be the most commonly reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).