HÀ NỘI — People are being warned to tread carefully when choosing post-COVID treatment options as the number of private health clinics offering this service has mushroomed.
In one case, a facility in HCM City’s District 1 tried to charge VNĐ18 million (US$794) for a course of micronutrients.
But experts say this type of treatment is unproven for patients suffering the aftereffects of coronavirus.
Journalists from Tin Tức (News) online newspaper, under Vietnam News Agency, went to the clinic posing as patients, after seeing an advert on social media.
They were told by the staff the best course of treatment would be micronutrients, and were quoted the hefty price.
Nguyễn Thanh Sang, Director of the post-COVID Physiotherapy and Psychotherapy Rehabilitation Centre under Lê Văn Thịnh Hospital in Thủ Đức District, said he has yet to hear of this method to treat post-COVID symptoms with micronutrients.
Sang said the micronutrients might be supplements or vitamins which only cost a few dozen or hundred thousand đồng per bottle.
“However, they are ineffective in post-COVID-19 treatment, they only help to reduce transient fatigue,” he said.
Sang also said that there is no specific treatment regimen for post COVID symptoms.
If a patient shows symptoms of fatigue or shortness of breath, they should practice breathing, walk gently, and supplement with proper nutrition.
Trương Hữu Khanh, permanent vice chairman of HCM City’s Infectious Disease Association said people could go to see doctor to examine and treat their post-COVID symptoms. However, they should come to reputable medical facilities.
Post-COVID functional foods
People are also warned to be careful when buying food products claiming to support treatment of post-COVID symptoms that are advertised massively on social networking sites.
The products are advertised to support lung’s functions, purify lungs, raise body resistance and detox post-COVID toxins.
Normally, a product has a price from a few hundred thousand đồng to over VNĐ1 million (US$44) and is advertised to use for both the elderly and children.
Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, Chief of the Health Department’s Office of HCM City advised people to be cautious when buying and using drugs and functional foods that are advertised for post-COVID treatment on social networking sites.
Currently, local medical facilities have deployed post-COVID clinical examination departments, so people should go to the places for examination and treatment, she said.
Trương Thị Ngọc Lan, deputy director of HCM City’s Traditional Medicine Institute said asthenia symptoms are the most common appearing after a person recovered from COVID-19.
In traditional medicine, there is no single cure for all post-COVID syndromes, she said.
On the internet, many types of traditional medicine currently are advertised to treat post-COVID symptoms, patients cannot know the origin of the medicines, so it should be careful before buying it, she said.
Properly understanding of post-COVID symptoms
Quan Thế Dân, deputy director of Trí Đức Thành General Hospital in Thanh Hóa Province talked to the Voice of Việt Nam (VoV) online newspaper that many people are worrying too much about post-COVID symptoms, and do not understand the condition properly.
He said many people, who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 after three or four days, think that they recovered from the disease. Later, when they still have a cough and shortness of breath, they panic and think that they have post-COVID symptoms.
In reality, the patient is still in the acute stage of infection and has not fully recovered.
A rapid antigen test result that shows negative after three or four days means the virus is low but does not mean the patient has been completely cured. Normally, it takes one to four weeks to fully recover, he added.
Associate Professor Hoàng Thị Phượng, a respiratory specialist at Medlatec General Hospital, said that when the COVID-19 vaccine was widely covered, it meant that severe symptoms were under control and a very high percentage of patients recovered completely.
Figures around the world indicate that only about 10-20 per cent of COVID-19 cases show signs of post-COVID symptoms, she said.
These symptoms can appear within three months of illness and they will last for more than 12 weeks, possibly longer, she said.
Common post-COVID symptoms consist of fatigue, chest tightness, shortness of breath and cough, even some people also suffer from stress and loss of smell, she said.
“Only those, who have the symptoms, should go to the doctor,” she said.
People, who are prone to post-COVID symptoms, include people with underlying medical conditions, people have to be hospitalised to treat COVID-19 and require long-term Intensive Care Unit (ICU) treatment, she said. — VNS