How "Long COVID" Symptoms May Impact Your Health

More than 104 mil­lion cas­es of COVID-19 have been report­ed in the US since the pan­dem­ic began in 2020. It is esti­mat­ed that any­where between 7.7 and 23 mil­lion of those peo­ple now have Long COVID.

Long COVID occurs after your COVID-19 infec­tion has end­ed. Also known as Post COVID Con­di­tions,” these symp­toms can last days, weeks, months — or even years. 

Gen­er­al­ly, COVID symp­toms end after a few days or weeks. If your symp­toms last longer than a month, you may have what is known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions. 

If you have had COVID-19, you may be won­der­ing about lin­ger­ing symp­toms that you may still be expe­ri­enc­ing. How do you know if it’s Long COVID or some­thing else? And if you do have Long COVID, what should you do next? 

How Long COVID Impacts Your Body

No two cas­es of Long COVID are the same, and your symp­toms may look or feel very dif­fer­ent from some­one else’s. Long COVID can show up in many forms — every­thing from a rash to dizzi­ness to a change in your men­stru­al cycle may be a result of your pre­vi­ous illness.

Your symp­toms might include changes that you feel in your: 

  • Chest: Short­ness of breath, fast heart rate, trou­ble breathing

  • Ener­gy: Fatigue, tired­ness, dif­fi­cul­ty doing every­day tasks

  • Head/​Neck: Cough, lack of smell, headaches

  • Diges­tion: Diar­rhea, lack of taste, stom­ach pain

Because Long COVID can show up in a vari­ety of symp­toms, there isn’t any one way to diag­nose it. Unlike a nasal swab test which can tell you if you have COVID-19, there isn’t a test that can tell if you have Long COVID. 

Your Duly pri­ma­ry care provider can help you under­stand your symp­toms based on your pre­vi­ous expo­sure or diag­no­sis of COVID-19, your med­ical his­to­ry, and a phys­i­cal examination. 

Talk to your Duly Health and Care provider if you think you are hav­ing symp­toms of Long COVID.

Men­tal Health Symp­toms of Long COVID

In addi­tion to the phys­i­cal toll Long COVID can have on your body, keep in mind the ways it might affect your men­tal health as well. 

Some side effects of Long COVID on your men­tal health can include:

Hav­ing a chron­ic ill­ness that lasts for any length of time can be frus­trat­ing and have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on your men­tal health. If you are expe­ri­enc­ing Long COVID symp­toms, you may be frus­trat­ed if tasks that used to be easy are now more chal­leng­ing. You may feel as though your friends and fam­i­ly just don’t get what you’re going through — or like they don’t respect your con­cerns about the ongo­ing pandemic. 

You may feel espe­cial­ly frus­trat­ed if you did every­thing right.” Even if you got ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed, avoid­ed a COVID-19 infec­tion for years, or just had a mild case, you can still be affect­ed by lin­ger­ing COVID symptoms. 

These feel­ings can be tough to process — and tough to bal­ance. Your emo­tion­al response is just as impor­tant as the phys­i­cal symp­toms you may be expe­ri­enc­ing. Try not to ignore them or push them down.

Liv­ing With Long COVID

It might feel like there’s not enough infor­ma­tion out there about what you or a loved one is going through, and you might find that you won­der about the unknown. While it may feel like the pan­dem­ic has last­ed a life­time, it is still a rel­a­tive­ly new event — and what we know about COVID and Long COVID is still growing. 

You may want to know what Long COVID real­ly means for you — if it’s going to go away, or if there will be per­ma­nent dam­age. Hav­ing these kinds of con­cerns is okay, and med­ical experts are work­ing tire­less­ly to find these answers. 

Though we don’t yet know every­thing there is to know about Long COVID, there are some ways you can take care of your­self and man­age your symptoms: 

Talk to a therapist. 

Con­sid­er talk­ing to a ther­a­pist or join­ing a sup­port group for peo­ple with Long COVID. It can be help­ful to talk about your expe­ri­ences with peo­ple who under­stand what you are going through.

Take it slow.

If you are going to exer­cise, build up your abil­i­ty grad­u­al­ly — over a peri­od of time as long as 12 weeks. Some experts rec­om­mend car­dio exer­cis­es you can do while sit­ting, like work­ing on a row­er or recum­bent bike. Start with just 5 min­utes of exer­cise 5 days a week and add 2 min­utes to your exer­cise length each week. 

Talk to your Duly health­care provider. 

If you have been expe­ri­enc­ing symp­toms for more than 4 weeks after your COVID-19 infec­tion, talk to your Duly provider. Pre­pare some notes about your COVID-19 expo­sure, symp­toms, and gen­er­al med­ical his­to­ry to help them make an accu­rate assess­ment of your condition.

Your Duly provider can help you under­stand and poten­tial­ly treat some of your Long COVID symp­toms. While liv­ing with Long COVID can be frus­trat­ing, you don’t have to go through it alone. 

One of the best things you can do to pro­tect your­self and your fam­i­ly from Long COVID is to pre­vent infec­tion. Sched­ule your vac­cine or boost­er today.

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