Sometimes referred to as: post-acute COVID, chronic COVID, long-haulers, and long COVID
Post-COVID is a multi-system disease in which patients experience persistent, fluctuating symptoms more than 3 weeks from their initial COVID infection. These lingering symptoms can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
Cases Per Year (US)
Currently unknown and still under investigation.
Estimates vary between 10-35% of infected unvaccinated COVID patients. Vaccinated people have a 49% lower risk for post-COVID.
Varies (higher risk for older people, and those with underlying medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cancer, are more likely to develop serious illness.)
What are the symptoms of post-COVID syndrome and how does it progress?
The most common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain, and chest pain. Other lingering symptoms include fevers, brain fog, headache, loss of taste or smell, palpitations, abdominal pain, and skin rash. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and sleep disturbances have been reported in more than 30% of post-COVID patients. All of these symptoms can fluctuate and change over time and can affect almost any system in the body.
The good news is that most people do eventually recover from post-COVID syndrome on their own, though sometimes within several weeks to months. Still it can be slow going. A recent study found that 26% of participants still had symptoms between 6 and 8 months after their initial infection.
Medically, what makes you worry if someone needs more treatment or attention?
If someone is having trouble breathing, experiencing persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or has a blue tint to their lips or face, seek emergency medical care immediately.
How long would you typically have symptoms to suspect post-COVID syndrome?
If you have one or more symptoms for three weeks or more, it’s possible you have post-COVID syndrome.
If I catch COVID and experience mild symptoms, am I at risk for post-COVID?
Symptom severity does not correlate with risk of post-COVID syndrome. Instead, early studies support a possible connection between the number of symptoms experienced during the first week and the likelihood of developing post-COVID syndrome (i.e. more symptoms may mean a higher risk of post-COVID syndrome)
Connect with our physicians
Andrew Cunningham, MD and Nora Lansen, MD are both members of the Galileo Clinical Team. Connect with one of our physicians about Post-COVID Syndrome or any of the many other conditions we treat.Join Today