HomeHealth & FitnessCOVID-19 Reinfections May Increase the Risk of Serious Health Problems

COVID-19 Reinfections May Increase the Risk of Serious Health Problems

Experts warn that long-term health issues can be problematic if you have more than one instance of COVID-19. FG Trade/Getty Images

  • Researchers believe that COVID-19 infections can increase the chance of hospitalization and death due to the illness.
  • They say that vaccinations can reduce risks, but there’s still the chance of serious illness following every reinfection.
  • Experts believe that the findings support the idea that those with a higher risk of being exposed ought to consider wearing a top-quality face mask indoors and in outdoor settings with many people.

Researchers aren’t sure whether there’s a cumulative impact on your health due to repeated COVID-19-related infections.

But what is apparent is that any infection risks fatal illness, death, or permanent disability.

The reinfection “adds non-trivial risks of all-cause mortality, hospitalization, and adverse health outcomes in the acute and post-acute phase of the reinfection,” according to the findings of a preprint study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine as well as The VA Saint Louis Health Care System in Missouri.

Researchers looked over millions of health documents from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The study’s preliminary findings included more than 250,000 vets suffering from one COVID-19-related infection, almost 39,000 with one or more reinfections, and more than 5 million in a control group.

“The risk and [disease] burden increased in a graded fashion according to the number of infections,” said the study’s authors. However, it has not previously been reviewed by a peer or published in a medical journal.

Researchers discovered that the risk of adverse health outcomes caused by reinfection increased no matter the vaccination level. This included the acute phase of the infection and chronic health problems that develop following acute symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fever, and diminished fever.

“What’s most interesting is the long-term manifestation of this condition. The majority of people recover, but not all,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a researcher and the chief of the Resource and Development Service at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System as an epidemiologist in charge at Washington University.

“We were asking a simple question: Does reinfection matter?” Al-Aly explained to Healthline. “We were not comparing first and [subsequent] infections, but asking whether it’s worth it to protect yourself against a second infection.”

According to Al-Aly, the answer is that “every time you’re infected, you’re rolling the dice.”

“You may have been vaccinated or had a previous infection, but that doesn’t eliminate your risk,” Dr Jay Feldman stated, noting that the possibility of developing severe illness due to an infection with COVID-19 varies from around 3%-5 percent in all cases.

“It’s still wise and responsible to try to protect yourself from reinfection,” said the doctor. Declared.

It is also an essential factor.

“As you get further from your vaccination, boosters, and previous infections, the risk of reinfection increases significantly,” Dr. Jordan Sudberg, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Health Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Texas, said to Healthline.

Al-Aly recognized the weaknesses of the study’s limitations. He also acknowledged that there are some limitations to the study. The VA population is older, more white, and more male. They also noted that the VA population is less healthy overall than the general population.

He also noted that the sheer number of people included in the study indicated that significant numbers of minorities, women, and people of a younger age were also included. Future research will be focused on what findings can be applied to these populations.

Looking to the future

Previous studies have revealed that COVID-19 reinfection rates were lower among the early variations of the disease. However, rates increased after it became highly infectious. The Omicron variant was discovered throughout the globe in the latter half of 2021 and into early 2022.

Researchers have concluded that the most recent COVID-19 variants, like Omicron B.A.5, are more efficient in preventing the immunity provided through vaccinations or prior infections.

“I’ve seen patients who have been reinfected with every new variant,” Ostrosky said. Ostrosky. “Some have been infected three 5, 4, and 3 times. People are being reinfected by the B4 variant and the B5 version, who were infected with Omicron just in March.”

“It’s still very clear that getting vaccinated helps protect people from getting seriously ill from COVID-19,” Dr. Emily E. Volk, the chief medical officer of Baptist Health Floyd in Indiana and president of the College of American Pathologists.

“I don’t think we know if there is a cumulative effect from reinfection,” Volk stated Healthline. “But having a COVID-19 relapse isn’t a safe situation for anyone, not including the potential for long-term negative effects. It is a fact that we can say.”

Ostrosky stated that anecdotally speaking, people with less severe COVID-19 during the initial infection appear to have more mild cases after being reinfected. In the beginning, people with more severe cases are more likely to experience difficult reinfections, perhaps because their bodies ability to combat the subsequent infection was compromised when they first came down with the disease.

A mild recurrence can pose risks, but.

“We don’t know the long-term effects of multiple infections even if they are mild,” Ostrosky said. Ostrosky.

Volk stated that, while there’s little enthusiasm in public for returning to mandatory masks, she and Ostrosky suggested wearing a mask in indoor environments, especially in areas with inadequate ventilation. It’s imperative when you’re at risk or living with someone.

“It’s still important to protect yourself, stay home when you’re sick, practice good hand hygiene, and mask when appropriate,” Volk said. Volk.



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