Post-COVID conditions, also known as Long COVID, are new, lingering, or recurring symptoms of COVID-19 that last over four weeks beyond your positive COVID-19 test. In some cases, post-COVID conditions can last months or even over a year! That’s a long time to be dealing with symptoms, which according to the CDC can include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (also known as post-exertional malaise)
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
- Chest or stomach pain
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
- Joint or muscle pain
- Pins-and-needles feeling
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)
- Mood changes
- Change in smell or taste
- Changes in menstrual period cycles
While these are the most common Long COVID symptoms, some people may experience different ones. People who had minor cases of COVID-19 with no symptoms during their initial disease process may experience Long COVID symptoms as well, so it’s important to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms so that they can get a full picture of how the COVID-19 virus is affecting you.
In rare cases, COVID-19 sufferers may experience multiorgan effects of the disease. These effects can last for months and affect many, if not all, of the body systems, including the:
- Heart (Cardiovascular)
- Lungs (Respiratory)
- Skin (Integumentary)
- Kidneys (Urinary)
- Brain (Neurological)
Some COVID-19 patients may also experience an autoimmune reaction to the disease process, causing their body’s immune system to attack, leading to swelling and pain. Immunosuppressants may be required to control the immune response, but using this type of medication comes with its own set of risks.
In very rare cases, some COVID-19 patients, usually children, will experience Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS). This occurs either during an active COVID-19 infection or right afterward, and is characterized by different parts of the body becoming inflamed. MIS can lead to other post-COVID conditions as well. Information on post-COVID conditions in children and adolescents is limited, although it seems to occur less frequently than it does in adults.
The best way to avoid COVID-19 and its possible after effects is to get vaccinated if you are eligible. This not only gives you some immunity against the virus but also protects the children and immunocompromised people around you. If you have more questions about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, or vaccination, give us a call at (727) 685-3794. We offer COVID-19 rapid result testing and serum antibody testing for your convenience in our St. Petersburg office.