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Women in 40s and 50s more susceptible to long COVID-19, study finds


Deb Eveniss was once an active and healthy 46-year-old. Now, she struggles to lift her arms in the shower.

The mum of two is one of potentially tens of thousands feeling the impacts of long COVID-19, months after the initial infection had passed.

“It’s like your nervous system has said ‘nup, you’re not functioning anymore’, and your legs don’t work, your chest is heavy and you can barely breathe,” Eveniss said.

“Even like showering, showering is exhausting, particularly if you have to wash your hair. It just smashes you.”

Mum of two Deb Eveniss says she struggles with persisting COVID-19 symptoms which have impacted her physically, mentally and financially. (Nine)

Broadcaster Bern Young is also suffering the effects of long COVID-19.

Seven months after she was first diagnosed, the 50-year-old mum is still struggling with daily tasks.

“I took a lot of time off work, thinking if I just rest I’ll knock this on the head, this post-viral syndrome, like any virus, it will right itself,” she said.

“It just never went away.

“Every time I thought I was better I’d go back to what I thought was normal I would just end up back in bed.”

Research, including the Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study, is emerging suggesting long COVID-19 may be most prevalent in women aged 40 to 60.

Once active and healthy, the 46-year-old said she now struggles with basic tasks. (Nine)

“Our study finds that those who have the most severe prolonged symptoms tend to be white women aged approximately 40 to 60 who have at least two long-term health conditions,” said Chris Brightling, a professor of respiratory medicine at Leicester University who co-led the study known as PHOSP-COVID.

While official data does not yet exist, the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts 10 to 20 per cent of the over 570 million people worldwide who have had COVID-19 – including 8.5 million Australians – will develop long COVID-19.

Bern Young also feels the effects of long COVID, seven months after she was diagnosed. (Nine)

“At the moment we don’t really know why some people get long COVID and we don’t really have a good way of trying to fix that for them,” infectious disease expert Dr Paul Griffin said.

“Middle-aged women do seem to be one of those groups that might have slightly higher rates of long COVID.”

Researchers have suggested there are 62 symptoms characteristic of long COVID-19, including hair loss and reduced libido.

Women in their 40s and 50s have been deemed most susceptible to the illness. (Nine)

Queensland Health is considering the possibility of implementing long COVID-19 clinics as the third wave of Omicron intensifies.

Health experts are advising residents to continue taking precautions.

“Certainly making sure people are fully vaccinated and those who are eligible get access,” Griffin said.

Eveniss and Young say the illness has affected all aspects of their lives, including their finances.

But there are currently no government support subsidies for those diagnosed with the disease.

“People that haven’t got spare income, they’re barely surviving,” Eveniss said.

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