Long COVID-19 – What You Need to Know

Long COVID-19 - What you need to know

Although COVID-19 may no longer be in “pandemic” territory according to President Biden, there are millions of Americans still experiencing post-COVID side-effects. Also known as Long COVID-19, the “long-haul” aftermath of a COVID-19 infection can cause symptoms lasting for months or even longer.

What is Long COVID?

Long COVID-19 is diagnosed when individuals have continued to experience symptoms 4 weeks after a COVID-19 infection. Long COVID – also known as “long haul COVID” and “Post-COVID”, is gaining more attention among the public as more diagnoses are given.

Medical professionals say there are two types of long COVID:

  • Ongoing symptomatic COVID: When COVID symptoms carry on for 4 to 12 weeks 
  • Post-COVID Syndrome: When COVID symptoms carry on for over 12 weeks 

While Long COVID is still being researched and more understood, it is clear that it is more prevalent in the US than most realize.

According to the CDC: “Nearly One in Five American Adults Who Have Had COVID-19 Still Have Long COVID”.  

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What are the Symptoms of Long COVID?

Symptoms of Long COVID vary by each individual. However, there are many common symptoms that most continue to experience. 

According to the CDC, symptoms include:

  • General Symptoms
  • Tiredness and fatigue that affects your day-to-day life 
  • Symptoms that worsen after physical exertion
  • Fever
  • Respiratory and Heart Symptoms 
  • Difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath 
  • Cough 
  • Chest Pain
  • Increased heart rate – also known as heart palpitations
  • Neurological Symptoms 
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog") 
  • Headache
  • Sleep issues
  • Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness) 
  • Pins-and-needles feelings 
  • Change in smell or taste 
  • Depression or anxiety 
  • Memory loss
  • Additional Symptoms
  • Digestive issues including stomach pains and diarrhea  
  • Joint and muscle pains

While Long COVID is still being monitored and understood, more symptoms continue to develop, and research is ongoing.  

These symptoms have caused many Americans suffering that has affected their everyday life, from the inability to work, attending social functions, and live life like they did before being infected with COVID-19.  

People with post-COVID conditions may develop or continue to have symptoms that are hard to explain and manage. Clinical evaluations and results of routine blood tests, chest x-rays, and electrocardiograms may be normal. While there is no test to diagnose Long COVID, you are encouraged to consult with your doctor for a diagnosis. Your healthcare provider considers a diagnosis of Long COVID conditions based on your health history, your past diagnosis of a COVID-19 infection, and symptoms.  

How Can You Prevent Long COVID? 

In a recent article from WebMDThe best way not to have long COVID is not to have COVID at all,” says Leora Horwitz, MD, a professor of population health and medicine at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. 

While there is no guarantee on prevention of Long Covid, there are a few ways to protect yourself to lessen the risk of infection.  

  • Wear a mask in crowded places such as public transportation, at events and more.  
  • Get vaccinated and/or boosted – that those not vaccinated have a higher risk of getting Long COVID 
  • Continue to test regularly to ensure your COVID-19 status, either using PCR test or an at-home rapid antigen test like INDICAID. 

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What are Common Treatments for Long COVID?

Since Long COVID symptoms are different for everyone, treatments also vary, depending on the person and symptoms.  

According to the UCLA Health Center: Long COVID symptoms can stem from issues in several body systems at once, requiring care and treatment from multiple specialists including: 

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Neurology
  • Psychology
  • Pulmonology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Psychiatry
  • Rheumatology

As WebMD states: Unfortunately, there aren’t any drugs available to specifically treat long COVID.  

Since Long COVID is still a new phenomenon, there are ongoing clinical studies actively in progress to see what works and what doesn’t.  

Additionally, the US Department of Health and Human Services has established Long COVID as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557 – you can find out more information here.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing Long COVID symptoms, be sure to reach out to your doctor to get the treatment best for you.  

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