5.5.22 – What is Long COVID?

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the health officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. The COVID vaccines, masks, at home testing, and treatment are how you can continue to protect you and your loved ones from COVID. Today, let’s talk about long COVID.

What is Long COVID?
Long COVID, also called post-COVID conditions, is generally considered to be the effects of COVID that last for more than four weeks after you’ve been infected with the virus. While most people who have COVID recover completely within a few weeks, some people, even those who had mild or no symptoms, can have new or ongoing symptoms. Anyone can develop long COVID, both those with health conditions and those who are younger or healthier.

What are the symptoms of Long COVID?
There are a range of new or ongoing symptoms that some people experience weeks or months after infection. A few of the symptoms include:

• Fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Cough
• Joint pain
• Memory, concentration or sleep problems
• Muscle pain or headache
• Loss of smell or taste
• Depression or anxiety

Long COVID can affect any part of your body and there’s growing evidence that people who had COVID are at higher risk for developing diabetes. There’s still a lot we have to learn about long COVID. Research and studies are ongoing to better understand what it is, and how to manage it.

What should I do if I think I have Long COVID?
If you have new or ongoing symptoms that are lasting longer than four weeks after infection, talk to your doctor. Also, Baltimore Washington Medical Center and Anne Arundel Medical Center have programs dedicated to caring for patients with long COVID and may be an option if you do have long COVID.

How do I prevent Long COVID?
People who are vaccinated and get COVID are less likely to develop long COVID so get vaccinated and boosted. It’s unclear if treatment decreases the chances of developing long COVID and researchers are looking at this.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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