While most people who get COVID-19 get better within a couple of weeks, others have continuing symptoms or even develop new ones after their initial recovery. It can be daunting and discouraging to feel sick all the time, and to watch others recover and get back to their normal daily rhythms. People experience a wide range of physical, psychological, neurological, mental, and emotional symptoms that impact their daily lives long after initial infection of coronavirus.
Currently, there is no test to diagnose long Covid. Covid-19 symptoms and health problems experienced by long haulers, a patient-coined term for those with long Covid, vary greatly from cardiovascular issues to neurological symptoms, including brain fog, loss of smell, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rashes, and a decreased quality of life. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, fever, psychological manifestations, and sleep issues. There are over 200 reported long Covid symptoms, affecting almost every body system and organ. These include significant impacts on the body’s metabolism, inflammation, and immunity.
These clustered, persistent, and (for some) debilitating symptoms of long Covid have been given many different names, including post-Covid syndrome, post-Covid conditions, chronic Covid, post Covid-19 condition, post-acute sequelae of SARS-COV2 (PASC), post-acute Covid 19 syndrome, long-term effects of Covid-19, and long haul Covid. As the general understanding and science continue to evolve around this condition, healthcare professionals are still learning the best way to support people with long Covid on their journey back to health. It is extremely important that people with long Covid find a broad-minded, curious, and supportive cross-disciplinary team with whom to work.
- National Institute of Health. Long Covid. https://covid19.nih.gov/covid-19-topics/long-covid.
- Lambert Health Lab, Indiana University School of Medicine. Long Hauler Symptom Studies, https://www.survivorcorps.com/reports.
- NIH National Library of Medicine. Long COVID: major findings, mechanisms and recommendations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9839201/
- Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER). Understanding Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection through Data-Driven Analysis with Longitudinal Electronic Health Records: Findings from the RECOVER Initiative. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.21.22275420
- CDC. Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-care/post-covid-conditions.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fhcp%2Fclinical-care%2Fpost-covid-workup.html