Are You Suffering From Long-COVID?
Are you suffering from long-COVID? This is a simple question with a frustratingly complicated answer for you and your healthcare provider. While the pandemic has felt like an eternity, only now, almost three years in, are we seeing just how long a single COVID case can last. Globally, people are suffering from long-COVID. Onset, severity, and length of long-COVID symptoms range from 0-6 months, mild to debilitating, and weeks to months, possibly years. These symptoms can affect a single or multiple organ systems and present symptoms that can be anything from fatigue and digestive issues to respiratory, heart, and neurological effects.
Long-COVID looks different for each person who has it. Click the link to see a complete list of symptoms reported by the CDC, but here are the commonly reported ones to look for:
Does it take extra long to complete daily tasks? Is it a struggle to concentrate or focus where it was not before COVID? Is word or memory retrieval seemingly more difficult? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it could indicate cognitive dysfunction due to long-COVID. Those suffering from long-COVID report that brain fog has drastically changed their day-to-day lives. Brain fog can be extremely challenging to manage because it’s not as obvious or detrimental as some of the other physical side effects below. However, the medical community takes this neurological issue seriously, so don’t disregard it, and make sure to speak with your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing symptoms.
Experiencing a lingering cough? Shortness of breath? Trouble breathing? If yes, you could have long-COVID. Considering that the virus triggers a respiratory infection that may cause lung scarring, this all tracks. Experts at Johns Hopkins report that respiratory therapy and breathing exercises can help in some cases. As always, see your healthcare provider immediately if you have respiratory distress.
Suffering from chest pain or heart palpitations? If yes, these symptoms could indicate you have serious complications from COVID. The American Heart Association is funding several research teams to investigate the long-term impacts of COVID on the heart and brain. These include thrombosis (blood clotting), heart enlargement and infection, the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia, and heart and brain complications triggered by a viral immune response from a COVID infection. In addition, most teaching hospitals are dedicating researchers and resources to understanding long-COVID, and not only will extensive data be available soon, but may be able to treat you.
If you suspect you are suffering from long-COVID or notice new symptoms arise, consult your healthcare professional or Cancer Sherpa immediately. With research still being conducted, it’s best to err on the safe side and get yourself checked out for any health issues, whether mental or physical.
Unfortunately, even if you have a mild case of COVID, you can still experience long-COVID. Additionally, those who contract COVID more than once are at an increased risk of getting long-COVID.
With that, we’ll shout it one more time for the cheap seats: the best way to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus, and thus long-COVID is to get vaccinated and keep up with your boosters. Take extra precautions this holiday season to keep yourself and your loved ones safe (we’ve got you covered here), as cases are rising post-Thanksgiving. And if you need help finding long-COVID treatment, vaccine sites, appointments, or support, don’t hesitate to contact us.