Long COVID

About Long COVID

Some people who have had COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions. Long COVID can consist of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that can last for weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Long COVID can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if their illness was mild or if they had no symptoms. Long COVID is more common in adults, but long-term effects after COVID-19 do occur in children and adolescents. There is still much to learn about Long COVID. VDH will continue to update this webpage as we learn more.

Symptoms & Other Health Effects

Long COVID can affect people differently. People with Long COVID may report different symptoms, and different combinations of symptoms, that may last for different lengths of time.

Below is a list of Long COVID symptoms that are most commonly reported. Please note this list does not include all possible symptoms of Long COVID.

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Headaches
  • Loss of or changes in smell and/or taste
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever

Some of these symptoms can get worse after physical or mental activities.

Some people, especially those who’ve had severe COVID-19, can also experience new health conditions that can involve many body systems, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and brain. As a result, people who have had COVID-19 may be more likely to develop new health conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, blood clots, or neurological conditions compared with people who have not had COVID-19.

Prevention

The best way to prevent Long COVID is to take measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 infection. This includes staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.  Research suggests people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and become infected may have a higher risk of developing Long COVID compared to people who are vaccinated.

Other measures include seeking treatment for COVID-19 if eligible, improving ventilation, increasing hygiene practices, and following recommendations to prevent spreading the virus when you may be sick with COVID-19.

Treatment

While there is no specific treatment for Long COVID, people experiencing Long COVID conditions can seek support from a healthcare provider to come up with a personal medical management plan to help improve their symptoms and quality of life. Before visiting a healthcare provider, please review CDC's Healthcare appointment checklist to prepare for your appointment.

Getting Help and Support for Long COVID

Care Resource Coordination Lgo

 

If you need help related to Long COVID, VDH’s Care Resource Coordination Program may be able to connect you to local resources. For more information, visit VDH's Care Resource Coordination webpage.

 

Research Studies

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently enrolling people to participate in clinical trials that will evaluate four potential treatments for Long COVID through the RECOVER Initiative. People 18 years of age and older who are interested in learning more about these trials can visit www.recovercovid.org.

Page last Updated June 13, 2024