Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions
Long COVID is a condition marked by the continuation of COVID-19 symptoms—or the emergence of new ones—after recovery from acute (or the initial phase of illness of) COVID-19. Some individuals who were asymptomatic with COVID-19 report developing symptoms post COVID-19. It generally refers to the persistence of symptoms four weeks or longer after the onset of COVID-19 and usually last at least 3 months.
Long COVID can affect anyone, including children. It can impact any individual who had COVID-19 (confirmed or unconfirmed) whether they were asymptomatic, experienced mild symptoms, as well as those who experienced severe illness from COVID-19.
People call long COVID by many names, including: post-COVID conditions (PCC), long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection (PASC), long-term effects of COVID, and chronic COVID.
Research suggests that people who are vaccinated but experience a breakthrough infection are less likely to report post-COVID conditions, compared to people who are unvaccinated.
To learn more about long COVID, please review the information below and visit CDC’s Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions page.
People with long COVID may experience many symptoms and it may not affect everyone the same way. People with long COVID may experience health problems from different types and combinations of symptoms happening over different lengths of time. Most patients’ symptoms slowly improve with time. However, for some people, long COVID may last months, and potentially years, after COVID-19 illness and may sometimes result in disability.
Individuals should talk to a healthcare provider if they think they may have long COVID. Individuals experiencing long COVID may work with their healthcare provider to come up with a personal medical management plan that can help improve their symptoms and quality of life. Treatment for individuals who have multiple long COVID symptoms may include referrals to healthcare specialists in cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and/or other relevant fields of medicine.
To prepare for discussing long COVID and treatment options with a healthcare provider, review CDC’s Healthcare Appointment Checklist for Post-COVID Conditions page.
Below are some examples, by symptom, of treatment options and therapies that may help people with long COVID:
- Fatigue. Patients may be taught strategies for “Pacing, Planning, Prioritizing, and Positioning” activities, sometimes known as the”4 Ps.” They may also be advised to undertake a physical exercise program that involves stretching, strengthening, and aerobic activities. If exercise worsens symptoms, the patient should stop or reduce the intensity and/or duration of the activity.
- Respiratory symptoms. Treatment may involve breathing exercises, use of supplemental oxygen, and pulmonary rehabilitation, a medially guided program in which patients perform exercises and learn breathing techniques. Patients may need to use a pulse oximeter to monitor blood oxygen saturation levels.
- Cardiac symptoms. Patients with cardiac symptoms may be referred to a cardiovascular specialist for cardiac symptoms, such as rapid heart rate or chest pain. Treatment may involve cardiac rehabilitation. Medications may also be used to control specific symptoms.
- Neurological symptoms. If patients have cognitive symptoms such as memory loss and/or brain fog, doctors may recommend exercise and to remain physically active. For patients with memory impairment, treatment might involve memory exercises and the use of memory aids such as calendars and planners. Patients may be referred to a neurologist.
- Psychological symptoms. Treatment commonly involves counseling, support groups, and medications to manage depression, anxiety, or other conditions.
- Smell and taste symptoms. Patients who have reduced or lost sense of smell and/or taste, doctors may prescribe topical (drops or sprays) corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in the nose. They may also perform olfactory training, a therapy in which patients regularly sniff various odors for a set period (usually several weeks) with the aim of restoring sense of smell. If symptoms do not resolve, patients may be referred to ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists.
Campus Resources to Request Accommodation
Employees: Reasonable accommodation information
Students: Educational Access Center information
- CDC’s Patient Tips: Healthcare Provider Appointments for Post-COVID Conditions
- Long COVID Alliance
- Survivor Corps
- Recover COVID – National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID Research Initiative
- Facebook Support Group – Parents of Long Hauler Kids
- CDC – Caring for People with Post-COVID Conditions
- Administration for Community Living – Long COVID Resources
- Body Politic – COVID-19 Support Group
- Patient-Led Research Collaborative