Reference; 2022-11-16: https://mbp-japan.com/jijico/articles/32301/
Modified and translated by CFJA
Can acupuncture and moxibustion be used to treat prolonged physical symptoms after Covid-19 infection?
Three years have passed since the outbreak of COVID-19 infection in the Seafood Market in Wuhan, South China, at the end of 2019. Vaccination of healthcare workers began on February 17, 2021, and the elderly began receiving the vaccine on April 12, 2021. Although the number of deaths has decreased, there are still many people suffering from the COVID-19 sequelae. Although the effects of the virus on the human body have not yet been fully explained, it is becoming clearer how the virus affects the body after infection.
From 2019 to 2022, COVID-19 has infected 631.8 million people worldwide (6.59 million deaths) and 4.46 million people in Canada (48,494 deaths). This means that about one out of every 8.7 Canadians has been infected. At onset, symptoms include fever, cough, dyspnea and fatigue. The original Covid-19 caused many cases of severe illness and death. With the Delta variant of Covid, the probability of severe illness has gradually decreased, partly due to the progress in vaccination of the population. The Omicron variant is not thought to cause as much severe illness. However, even when the elderly(over 65 years of age) do not become seriously ill after infection, there are a great many cases of death due to worsening of underlying diseases.
There are many people who are asymptomatic when COVID-19 enters the body. After 14 days of infection with COVID-19, the probability of infecting others decreases to 0.6%. The virus is no longer detectable, but the patient’s strength has been depleted for 2 weeks since the time of onset of illness. Even though it is possible to go back to one’s daily life and go back to work, this does not mean that the physical strength that has decreased during the convalescent period will immediately return to the regular state. Muscle strength declines by about 15% after one week of bedridden living, and by about 50% after three to five weeks of bedridden living. At the same time, the general condition of the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and other organs deteriorates as well. After 2 weeks, most of the symptoms at the onset of the disease will disappear, but there are a certain number of people who suffer from residual symptoms. There are many cases of re-infection of Covid-19 even after symptoms have disappeared, and there is a high probability that the symptoms that do not disappear will gradually worsen.
After the initial symptoms of the acute phase have reduced and the patient has recovered to the point where he/she can leave their home, receiving acupuncture and moxibustion treatment as early as possible will be helpful to support the physical condition to ensure a smooth recovery.
What is the definition of Covid-19 after effects?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) post COVID-19 condition definition published in October 2021, post Covid-19 after effects are “symptoms that develop within 3 months of infection with the Covid-19, last at least 2 months, and cannot be explained by anything other than the Covid-19 and that may affect daily life (work and household chores)”.
Its characteristics include:
- 10-20% of patients infected with Covid-19 suffer sequelae. Its diagnosis is made 3 months after infection or recovery from the virus．
- Sequelae symptoms may persist from the time of infection and onset, or they may reappear after the patient has recovered once.
- There is no correlation between the severity of infection and the incidence of sequelae.
In “罹患後症状のマネジメント(Management of Post-associated Symptoms)”, a separate volume of the “新型コロナウイルス感染症 (COVID-19) 診療の手引き(Guide to Clinical Practice of COVID-19)” published by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, COVID-19 sequelae are symptoms that have persisted since the acute phase of COVID-19 infection, or that have newly or recurrently occurred and persisted during the course of the disease, without any other apparent cause, even though the infectivity has disappeared. We treat patients based on the understanding that the symptoms are likely to be Covid-19 sequelae, after confirming that the symptoms appeared after the infection, including the physician’s diagnosis and the relationship to the underlying disease.