Doctor warns of long-term effects of Covid 19 on young people

We know that the restrictions of recent months have been very difficult for young people whose social life is so important to them. Many young people have been absolute heroes, staying home, maintaining social distance when out, doing everything they can to protect those around them.

Now that things are opening up again we cannot afford to think that life is back to what it was before this all happened. We still need to be careful, to limit the number of people we are mixing with, to maintain social distancing, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette and to wear face coverings in busy places.

Although the number of new cases of Coronavirus is now much lower we can see that many of those new cases are happening among young people. It can be difficult for us as parents to get our children to understand and accept the ongoing need for restrictions. Often young people see themselves as invincible, thinking either that they won’t get Covid or that if they do it won’t do them any harm. Here is an interview which was aired on Newstalk on 24th June which might help young adults to realise that Covid-19 is still a challenge and a threat to people – young and old – in Ireland.

A Dublin doctor is warning young people that they could be left with long-term effects if they contract COVID-19.

It comes after health officials warned that 76 of the 202 people diagnosed with the virus in the past two weeks were under the age of 35.

Sixteen of those cases involved children under 14-years-of-age.

On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Dublin GP Maitiú Ó Tuathail said all five of the patients he referred for testing yesterday were under 40-years-old.

He said increases in young people catching the virus are now “happening the world over.”

“They are the most social of all the groups so it stands to reason that we would see an increase in these numbers as lockdown has been, kind of, reversed,” he said.

He said the narrative that the virus only effects older people has led to younger people being too relaxed about guidelines on social distancing and face coverings.

“There has been a clear message throughout the pandemic that this is an illness that predominantly affects and kills people who are over the age of 65,” he said.

“Because that was the message that has gone out, those that are under 40 really feel like this is not a disease that affects them and what I am seeing in my practice is that that is not true.”

Post-viral fatigue syndrome

He said people under 40 are unlikely to end up in intensive care with the virus; however, they could face other long-term issues.

“I am seeing an increasing number of people that were 20 or 30 that got COVID-19 and were left with the effects of it,” he said.

“The most common one we are seeing at the moment is chronic fatigue. I have patients in their 20s and 30s that are now out of work for weeks with severe chronic fatigue because of COVID-19.

“So, it is not true that people under the age of 40 are completely immune. I am seeing people coming in with long-term effects from the virus.”

Loved ones

He said young people need to consider their older relatives when they are out and about.

“The real issue is that these people in their 20s and 30s have loved ones,” he said. “They have mothers, they have fathers and they are putting them at risk by the actions they are taking.

“There is a likelihood that you will spread the virus to a loved one who may end up in intensive care and may die and that is the message that needs to get out.”

Healthcare workers

Dr Ó Tuathail also said the INMO was not ‘far off the mark’ when it said Ireland had the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rate among healthcare workers.

“Anecdotally, I have had COVID-19, a lot of my colleagues who worked in hospitals have had COVID-19 and a disproportionally large number of nurses particularly in the nursing home sector had COVID-19

“We know in the nursing home sector, that was a mess. It was poorly managed there was an inadequate amount of PPE within the nursing home sector.”

 

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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