Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection, known as post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID. 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 those who had mild illness or no symptoms.
The best way to prevent post-COVID conditions is to protect yourself and others from becoming infected. For people who are eligible, getting vaccinated and staying up to date with vaccines against COVID-19 can help prevent infection and severe illness.
Most patients’ symptoms slowly improve with time. However, for some, post-COVID conditions may last months, and potentially years, after COVID-19 illness and may sometimes result in disability. Learn more.
I was an Emergency Room (ER) nurse and contracted COVID-19 in October 2020 from a patient. Initially, I thought I had allergies (because I normally do that time of year). However, the next day I started losing my sense of taste; the following day I completely lost my sense of smell. In less than a week, I had episodes of shortness of breath and began to experience sharp pain in my right foot that woke me up in the night. The pain started to present in different areas of my body. My left forearm, left thigh and right shin. The pain felt like it was in my bones and nothing would give me relief. I have been struggling with long-haul COVID symptoms since.
I have met with several rheumatologists; staffing issues presented a challenge with consistent care. I have been tested for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) as well as hypermobility syndrome. We have trialed many different medication and therapy options. I had a horrible experience with hydroxychloroquine. I continue to suffer from a considerable amount of excruciating pain; pain I had never experienced prior. I have been prescribed medications to alleviate this pain that was not part of my life prior.
Honestly, I feel like I am too young to be dealing with these health-related issues. It is hard for me to see those who choose not to get vaccinated. I contracted COVID before vaccination was an option. I worry about my co-workers, community members, patients and residents. I cannot imagine the health impact of COVID on those who are dealing with other medical issues or comorbidities.
Again, I feel like I am relatively healthy and young; the long-term impacts of COVID-19 have taken a toll on me. I was one of the unlucky ones to get COVID before a vaccine came out. I would almost guarantee that my post symptoms would not be as severe as they are if I would have been fortunate enough to get the vaccine prior. My husband and 12-year-old son have both gotten their vaccines and boosters and I am so thankful they have been lucky enough to (so far) remain COVID-free.
In case anyone is wondering, I was wearing my N95 mask and goggles in the ER and the patient who came to ER was only experiencing pain. After examination and blood work showing nothing alarming, we decided to do a COVID test on the patient. It came back positive. The patient had no other symptoms besides pain upon admission.
– Jenifer Lauckner, RN, is a Quality Improvement Advisor with Great Plains Quality Innovation Network
Understanding Long COVID – June 24, 2022 | 12:00 PM CT
As part of the Vaccine Confident series, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium has invited Jennifer Cope, MD, MPH, to discuss long COVID, the term conditions present four or more weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The presentation will cover a framework for understanding these conditions, describe the most common presentation and risk factors, and discuss strategies for diagnosis and management of long COVID patients.