It’s still unclear how long symptoms of long COVID may last. Reports suggest they may last for 6 months or even longer. Factors like your age and vaccination status may affect how long you experience symptoms.
Long COVID occurs if certain symptoms persist beyond 2 months after an initial COVID-19 infection and a doctor cannot find another possible diagnosis for your symptoms. Other names for the condition may include:
- long-haul COVID
- chronic COVID
- post-COVID syndrome
- post-acute sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection
Keep reading to find out more about long COVID symptoms, how long you can expect them, and what you can do to manage them.
Long COVID symptoms can include the following:
- joint or muscle pain
- difficulty with memory and thinking (brain fog)
- difficulty sleeping
- shortness of breath
- stomach upset
According to a
People with long COVID have also described symptoms that are much like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), when they may experience flashbacks or anxiety related to their illness.
Researchers first identified SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, in December 2019. As a result, there’s a lot still to learn about the virus and its long-term effects. According to the
But some people do not report experiencing long COVID symptoms until
Do long COVID symptoms come and go?
There’s still a lot researchers do not know about long COVID. But they have found that some people may experience the condition more often,
- live with obesity or overweight
- experience more than five different symptoms when they have COVID-19
- are older adults
- have a chronic health condition
It’s possible to not have any of these risk factors and still experience long COVID.
Managing long COVID symptoms can be challenging and frustrating. The condition affects people in various ways.
Treatments and management revolve around supportive care. This means a healthcare professional will consider your symptoms and recommend treatments to help relieve your symptoms. Examples could include:
- therapy or counseling to address anxiety, depression, or PTSD symptoms
- medications, such as inhalers, to improve lung function
- medications to reduce headaches
- physical therapy or a monitored exercise program
- pulmonary rehabilitation
If your symptoms are not a medical emergency but are interfering with your daily life, talk with a healthcare professional. They can order testing to ensure another condition is not causing your symptoms. If they diagnose you with long COVID, they may refer you to other specialists or set up a time to follow up on your symptoms.
When is it an emergency?
Get immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following potential life threatening symptoms of long COVID:
- thoughts of self-harm
- acute confusion
- difficulty with balance
- severe shortness of breath
If you have more questions about long COVID, you aren’t alone. Here are some other frequently asked questions about the condition.
Does getting the vaccine affect how long I experience long COVID symptoms?
But some studies found no change in long COVID risks or even worsening of symptoms after vaccination. Until more research is available, it’s tough to truly know the potential connections between long COVID and vaccination.
Will long COVID symptoms last longer if I had a more severe COVID-19 infection?
Experiencing long COVID doesn’t seem to be related to the severity of a COVID-19 case.
But having more than five COVID symptoms can increase your risk of developing long COVID. A
Is brain fog from long COVID the result of permanent brain injury?
Researchers have yet to establish how long brain fog lasts with long COVID. A
Researchers need to conduct more studies about how long symptoms of long COVID last. We still don’t know how and why some people experience long COVID.
Current reports indicate those with long COVID report symptoms for 6 months and longer. Because long COVID symptoms fluctuate, knowing exactly how long they’ll last can be difficult at this time.
If you think you may be experiencing long COVID symptoms, talk with a doctor about possible treatments.