Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions

This page is updated as needed, last updated on 01/29/24.

See below, or click the following links, to learn more:

About Long COVID

African-american female having post-covid syndrome. Concept of loosing smell due to covid-19 virus

Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection, known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions. Long COVID is broadly defined as signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after acute COVID-19 infection. This definition of Long COVID was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners. In July 2021, Long COVID was added as a condition that could result in a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Most people with COVID-19 get better in a few days or weeks after infection, but others may have ongoing symptoms. Long COVID can first be identified when a person has symptoms for at least 4 weeks after the COVID-19 infection. Adults and children of any age can have Long COVID, including people who had COVID-19 with mild or no symptoms. Some people may be more at-risk for developing Long COVID, including:

  • People who have experienced more severe COVID-19 illness, especially those who were hospitalized or needed intensive care.
  • People who had underlying health conditions prior to COVID-19.
  • People who did not get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Symptoms of Long COVID

People with Long COVID can have a wide range of symptoms that can last weeks, months, or even years after infection. Sometimes the symptoms can even go away and come back again.

Long COVID may not affect everyone in the same way. For example, because children are still developing, Long COVID can especially affect children differently. People who experience Long COVID most commonly report:

General Symptoms (not a comprehensive list)

  • Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as post-exertional malaise)
  • Fever

Respiratory and Heart Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)

Neurological Symptoms

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as "brain fog")
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness)
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety

Digestive Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain

Other Symptoms

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Changes in menstrual period cycles

Though most individuals’ symptoms slowly improve with time, speaking with your healthcare provider about the symptoms you are experiencing after having COVID-19 could help determine if you might have Long COVID. If you do not have a healthcare provider and would like to get connected to one, call 2-1-1. If you have serious symptoms, like difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1.

Prevention of Long COVID

The best way to prevent Long COVID is to protect yourself and others from becoming infected, including:

Living with Long COVID

People with Long COVID can seek care from a healthcare provider to come up with a personal medical management plan that can help improve their symptoms and quality of life. Review these tips to help prepare for a healthcare provider appointment for Long COVID. Also, there are many support groups being organized that can help patients and their caregivers.

Resources

County of San Diego:

Long COVID Recovery Programs and Clinics in San Diego:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services