Brigitte Bourguignon, France’s new health minister, will persist with her predecessor’s battle against long COVID, as Brussels suggests part-time work for those with continual COVID-linked symptoms. EURACTIV France said

Protracted COVID is detected in patients who continue to exhibit disease symptoms such as pain, post-exercise discomfort, shortness of breath, and exhaustion, more than three months after testing positive for the virus. While it is difficult to spot, it is believed to affect 10-30% of COVID-19 victims.

According to the health ministry, Bourguignon will seek to evaluate the long-standing COVID issue and will adhere to the roadmap established by her predecessor, Olivier Véran.

In March, Véran outlined the disease’s priorities, including improved disease management and awareness between health workers and the general public.

“We expect Bourguignon to proceed on the same trail as Véran, with research, true identification, and true care,” Céline Castera of the patient association AprèsJ20 told EURACTIV.

A problem

The disease poses a significant challenge for workers and employers, according to a document on the effect of COVID-19 in the place of work published on May 20 by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

Most people will struggle to return to work because they are physically and psychologically exhausted. Patients frequently complain about “brain fog,” which they believe makes it difficult to stay concentrated and responsive.

Workers should only do 70 percent of what they feel competent of doing because “fatigue can lead to relapse and further slowdown recovery,” according to the document.

“This implies that a particular policy in businesses is required, or at the very least a greater awareness of protracted COVID in current sick leave laws,” the EU agency said.

The agency also suggested that sick leave be extended because recovery can sometimes be extremely slow as a result of tiredness or other symptoms.”

Inability to work

A few COVID patients have also stated that they have had to stop working entirely.

Céline Castera, a 41-year-old registered nurse, was forced to retire in September of last year after spending two months partially paralyzed in a wheelchair.

Castera was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March 2020, but when she went back to work, she was exhausted. It was later revealed that she had protracted COVID, which compelled her to take a year off work.

She went back to work part-time in May 2021. She was exhausted after returning from a summer vacation in September of that year, and she was forced to quit working completely.

Castera and the employees of Aprèsj20 are now clamoring for the recognition of protracted COVID.

According to Castera, the limited data and acknowledgment of the disease lead to “difficulties in dealing with the disease.”

Infected persons are also placed in difficult positions if they are not recognized, as they are forced to resign their employment or move to a part-time job, which implies they cannot obtain lengthy sick leave, among several other things, she noted.

“Doctors must also be trained.” “We also need studies to move forward,” Castera said.

Santé Publique France, France’s public health agency, told EURACTIV that protracted COVID is still being investigated, but provided no further details.

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