WHO recommends follow-up care, low-dose anticoagulants for COVID-19 patients

By Liu Qu

GENEVA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should have access to follow-up care if they have persistent, new or changing symptoms, while hospitalized patients should use low-dose anticoagulants to prevent clots from forming in blood vessels, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended on Tuesday.

In a statement, the WHO cited evidence gathered on the post-COVID condition, also known as "long COVID," in which people who have recovered from COVID-19 continue to experience longer-term symptoms like extreme fatigue, persistent cough and exercise intolerance.

For COVID-19 patients in home care, the WHO recommends the use of pulse oximetry to measure their blood oxygen levels. This needs to be coordinated with other aspects of home care, such as education for the patient and the care provider and regular follow-up care.

For hospitalized patients who are taking supplemental oxygen, including high-flow nasal oxygen, or non-invasive ventilation, the WHO recommends positioning them on their stomachs to increase oxygen flow (prone positioning).

The WHO also recommends the use of care bundles to systematize care provision for COVID-19 patients, as well as to favor clinical judgment over models in making decisions for the patient's care.

The WHO will organize a series of consultations in February to reach consensus on a description of the post-COVID condition and its subtypes, as well as case definitions.

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