The Coronavirus doesn’t “just disappear,” as once was thought. In fact, it has left at least 10% of its victims with a chronic illness that may never disappear. These people are dubbed “long haulers” and they have Long COVID, or Post-COVID Syndrome, a series of debilitating symptoms that can be life-ruining. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the most commonly reported long-term symptoms of Long COVID include the following:
- You will most likely feel fatigue – “Fatigue” is not just “sleepiness” but a full-body, soul-sucking, energy-draining feeling that is not resolved just by getting a night of sleep or even resting for several days. It is the #1 most common symptom of Long COVID.
- You may feel brain fog – This an inability to concentrate but it can be so much worse. Brain fog can happen from the COVID illness or from medications used for treating the illness. It may feel like you’re not fully awake, like you’re going through the day feeling constantly sleepy or in an almost dream-like state. It can also feel like you have a hard time concentrating or remembering things, even things that happened recently and makes it hard to perform work and daily tasks.
- You may feel shortness of breath – Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, the lungs are naturally impacted. Effects have been felt for more than six months later after coming down with the illness.
- You may have a cough or chest pain – A COVID cough is often dry.
- You may have joint pain – Viral infections are a known cause of acute arthralgia and arthritis. The way COVID works makes it plausible that COVID-19 patients might have features of systemic inflammation, including viral arthritis, according to News Medical Life Sciences.
- You may have depression – The mind and body aren’t two separate entities but work in partnership with each other. Depression is not just a mental state but can also cause physical symptoms such as body aches, headaches, stomach pain, and other unexplained discomforts.
- You may feel anxiety – This is a very common symptom of chronic illnesses. You feel irritable and exhausted, like your mind is constantly spinning and you can’t concentrate. You can’t sleep, or when you do, you have nightmares. More severely, you might experience panic attacks.
- You may have muscel pain – “Long haulers” often suffer from myalgia which is described as muscle aches and pain, which can involve ligaments, tendons and fascia, the soft tissues that connect muscles, bones and organs,” according to Johns Hopkins.
- You may have headaches – Disabling headaches can persist after COVID-19 resolution. The “migraine-like features” are tied to systemic inflammatory responses or, to put it in layman’s terms, it felt like you are being hit by a jackhammer. You may also have an intermittent fever.
- You may have a fast-beating or pounding heart – Heart palpitations are not uncommon among “long haulers.”
- You may have more serious complications – More serious long-term complications appear to be less common but have been reported,” says the CDC. These have been noted to affect different organ systems in the body including: Cardiovascular (Inflammation of the heart muscle), Respiratory (lung function abnormalities) Renal (acute kidney injury), Dermatologic (rash or hair loss), Neurological (smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty with concentration, memory problems), Psychiatric:(depression, anxiety, changes in mood.
What do you do if you suffer from these symptoms? Tell your doctor! Although there is no cure, they may be able to treat your symptoms.