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Persistent covid: self-care campaign

Around 10% of citizens who have suffered from covid in Spain continue to have symptoms after the disease has passed. We could be talking about more than a million people who are affected with different symptoms and of different intensity after suffering the infection.

In order to give a voice and help these patients and health professionals who have lived and live daily with covid and persistent covid, the Association for Self-care of Health (anefp) has launched the campaign Over a million voices to take care of ourselves.

The initiative revolves around a series of four talks in podcast format conducted by the publicist and pharmacist Marian García (Boticaria García).

Throughout the four chapters, the different protagonists share, from different points of view, their experience, knowledge and everything that surrounds the persistent covid.

“During the pandemic we became aware that many people who had suffered from covid continued to present symptoms some time later and that from the self-care sector we could help them, giving them a voice, promoting multidisciplinary initiatives for the identification and treatment of those affected”, he explains Jaume Pey, general manager of the Association for Self-care of Health (anefp).

“Guided by our commitment to promote self-care of the health and well-being of citizens in general and patients with persistent covid in particular, we start conversations with the health professions and the patients themselves, promoting a debate that led to the I document of consensus for the treatment of patients with mild symptoms of persistent covid”.

This commitment has gone one step further with the launch of the aforementioned podcast project, to make this problem more widely known from all its perspectives, and the contribution of self-care to improving the quality of life of these patients

Persistent covid, perspectives and self-care

Each of the four podcasts addresses a topic related to persistent covid.

In the first of the episodes, which is already available, there is a debate about the needs of patients with persistent covid.

They intervene María Eugenia Díez, vice president of Madrid Persistent Covid Association (AMACOP); July Mayol, director of the Innovation Unit of San Carlos Health Research Institute; i James Peygeneral manager of anefp.

In the words of Marian Garcia, “These two years of the pandemic have taught us great lessons, but even if a priori it might seem that everything has already been written or spoken, this is not the case. In Spain there are still more than a million people who continue to live with its effects. For me it is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to give them a voice”.

For Julio Mayolwhat is relevant about this project is the importance given to patients: “It’s not about putting the patient at the center, it’s about sitting with him, putting him to the side, since a persistent covid patient can be anyone”.

Her podcast partner, María Eugenia Díez, from AMACOPemphasizes that in Spain many affected are women, young people between 40-45 years of working age and who are not one hundred percent: “We need to know why this happens to us, this disease changes your life”.

The next three chapterswhich will be broadcast the weeks of November 7, 21 and 28, will focus on how this disease has affected the mental health of the citizens; the needs of research currently around the persistent covid and finally the myths and rumors that have arisen related to these diseases and the importance of going to reliable sources and expert health advice.

To talk about mental health and covid the participation of Josep Vilajoana, coordinator of the Division of Health Psychology a the General Council of Psychology of Spain, which emphasizes that the pandemic has psychologically affected the entire population.

This has led to an increase in cases of anxiety, apathy or depression that are added to collateral effects of the pandemic itself.

Regarding the need for more research on persistent covidtopic on which the episode focuses, three doctors, nurses and patients agree that much progress has been made in these pandemic years, but there is still a long way to go.

And in the opinion of Guadalupe Fontan, coordinator of Spanish Institute for Nursing Research of the General Nursing Councilthere is a “hard work ahead because this updated information is not reaching the professionals in direct assistance with the patient”.

Likewise, Paula Sanchez, technical coordinator of the Persistent Covid Group of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians and vocal of the Spanish Network for Research in Persistent COVID (REiCOP), notes that patient groups help us professionals by often disseminating scientific and informative articles about persistent COVID.

In the same vein, José Méndez, patient member of AMACOPindicates the need for patients to receive adequate, rigorous and up-to-date information.

self-healing persistent covid
Covid patient in an ICU. EFE/LUIS TEIXIT

Myths and wedges

The last of the podcasts will analyze the myths and rumors that have arisen related to the persistent covidthe importance of turning to reliable sources and expert health advice and the importance of self-care.

That is why the participation in this chapter has been counted on David Callejo, anesthesiologist and health publicistwho has highlighted the challenges posed by the pandemic at the information level, both because of the inevitable change in criteria in its management and because of the decontextualized information that emerged daily.

He also spoke on the same podcast Mª Ángeles Díaz, president of AMACOP – Madrid Association of Persistent COVID, who emphasized that patients with persistent covid still need a lot of help: “We don’t want them to abandon us”.

The podcasts of the campaign Over a million voices to take care of ourselves they are hosted in a place accessible from the anefp website and available on the main platforms for listening to this type of content (iVoox and Spotify).

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