What Is Long COVID?

Published October 31, 2023


It’s bad enough to become sick from COVID-19, or any other virus that keeps you home and in bed until you recover. But what if health problems persist for weeks, months or years afterward? While there’s still a lot to learn and understand, Long COVID symptoms manifest in many people.

Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days of infection, but if health problems persist past the four-week mark, Long COVID could be the culprit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

General symptoms of Long COVID include fatigue that can interfere with your everyday activities. You may experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, heart palpitations, even chest pain.

People who have Long COVID have also reported neurological symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating, problems sleeping, dizziness or lightheadness. Some experience joint or muscle pain.

Although it is more common among adults, Long COVID can also occur in children and adolescents.

People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and become infected may have a higher risk of developing Long COVID compared to those who have been vaccinated, says the CDC.

Consider boosting your immune system against COVID-19 with an updated vaccine. Each year, updated boosters are designed to tackle the latest strains of the virus and are one way to avoid or diminish symptoms that could turn into Long COVID.

Other ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, the CDC says, include:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who have COVID-19 or who suspect they have it
  • Washing your hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Wiping down high-traffic surfaces with disinfecting wipes
  • Improving ventilation within your home, e.g., opening windows for air to circulate

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DISCLAIMER: No content on this website, regardless of date, should be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your primary care provider.