Some patients who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have new, recurring, or ongoing symptoms and clinical findings four or more weeks after infection, sometimes after initial symptom recovery. Post-COVID conditions can occur in patients who have had varying degrees of illness during acute infection, including those who had mild or asymptomatic infections. Medical and research communities are still learning about these post-acute symptoms and clinical findings.
⇒ On June 24, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium offered an excellent presentation on this topic. Access the presentation and recording here.
People who experience post-COVID conditions most commonly report (this is not an inclusive list):
- Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
- Respiratory and heart symptoms (difficulty breathing, cough, chest pain, fast beating heart)
- Neurological symptoms (difficulty concentrating, headache, depression or anxiety, change in taste or smell)
- Digestive symptoms (diarrhea, stomach pain)
- Joint or muscle pain
- Body rashes
What You Need to Know:
- Post-COVID conditions can include a wide range of ongoing health problems; these conditions can last weeks, months or years.
- Post-COVID conditions are found more often in people who had severe COVID-19 illness, but anyone who has been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions, even people who had mild illness or no symptoms from COVID-19.
- People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and become infected may also be at higher risk of developing post-COVID conditions compared to people who were vaccinated and had breakthrough infections.
- There is no single test for post-COVID conditions. While most people with post-COVID conditions have evidence of infection or COVID-19 illness, in some cases, a person with post-COVID conditions may not have tested positive for the virus or known they were infected.
- CDC and partners are working to understand more about who experiences post-COVID conditions and why, including whether groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are at higher risk.
People with post-COVID conditions may experience health problems from different types and combinations of symptoms happening over different lengths of time. Most patients’ symptoms slowly improve with time. However, for some people, post-COVID conditions may last months, and potentially years, after COVID-19 illness and may sometimes result in disability.
It is important to note these post COVID symptoms, especially with older adults.
Seniors’ Long-COVID Symptoms Often Overlooked, Confused with Aging
A study in the journal BMJ estimated that 32% of older adults in the U.S. who survived COVID-19 infections had symptoms of long COVID up to four months later. The vague nature of defining long COVID and the wide range of symptoms may result in millions of those over 65 having changes in cognition, sleep patterns or concentration following COVID that may be considered just a part of the aging process. Learn more.
If you are a nursing home facility, we plan to address the topic of long COVID in our Thursday’s BOOST session on June 30.