Tens of thousands of people have long-term complaints after corona


Not only people who were very seriously ill have complaints for a long time. It also happens to people who have never been in hospital, and who often have no abnormalities on lung photos or in the blood.

‘Very tired’

Suus Meier Mattern is one of them: “I can sleep at any time of the day,” says the 35-year-old. She contracted corona during a skiing holiday in mid-March. “I was always an enterprising, fit and very active woman. Today I am still very tired every day, forgetful and have poor concentration.”

Suus is not alone. RTL Nieuws spoke extensively with ex-corona patients who have been ill with the virus for six months.

In addition, there is a special Facebook group for people with long-term complaints after corona, of which more than 15,000 people are already members. They have complaints ranging from fatigue, loss of condition and headache to muscle pain, shortness of breath and being unable to smell or taste.

Long complaints

“These are complaints that we see more often after an infection”, says Jako Burgers, general practitioner and advisor of the Dutch General Practitioners Association. “A well-known example is Q fever, some of the patients have complaints for a long time.”

To support those patients, Q-support was established in 2013, a foundation that supports, guides and advises Q fever patients. And now C support is added. “We stand next to the patient and see what someone needs and where guidance is needed,” says director Annemieke de Groot.

No medical treatment

C-support does not offer direct medical treatment, but links patients to an aftercare advisor and, where necessary, a medical advisor. The aftercare advisor examines what help someone needs. “If someone gets stuck at work, we call in the help of an occupational health expert, for example,” says De Groot. “It is also possible that our medical advisor makes a plan together with a GP and the patient. What we do differs per person.”

GPs also play an important role. “Every general practice has a number of these types of patients,” says Jako Burgers. “It is important that GPs recognize the complaints. Even though we don’t find anything on photos or in the blood, the complaints are real.”

After the Q fever outbreak in 2007, patients had to wait a long time for that recognition and help. “They were shouting in the desert. People had to search for the right help and knowledge for far too long,” says De Groot, also director of Q-support. “That led to psychosocial and financial problems. We really want to prevent that in corona patients.”

‘They can get rid of complaints’

General practitioner Burgers is cautiously optimistic about the future prospects of corona patients who have had complaints for a long time: “I am confident that people can get rid of their complaints if they receive proper guidance.” He sees C-support as an addition to the work of general practitioners and specialists.

Suus is in the right place with the guidance: “I have a great doctor who guides me well and I go to the lung physiotherapist once a week. And my employer is incredibly understanding.”

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