On Tuesday, the CDC published new guidance surrounding the potential long-term health effects of COVID-19 that people the medical community has come to describe as "long hauler" symptoms. "CDC is actively working to learn more about the whole range of short- and long-term health effects associated with COVID-19. As the pandemic unfolds, we are learning that many organs besides the lungs are affected by COVID-19 and there are many ways the infection can affect someone's health," they wrote. "While most persons with COVID-19 recover and return to normal health, some patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms." Here are all the symptoms of long-term COVID-19, according to the CDC's updated guidance, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Most Common: Fatigue
Chronic fatigue is one of the most common symptoms experienced by those suffering from long-term COVID. According to a Long Hauler Symptoms Survey conducted by Dr. Natalie Lambert involving 1,567 people who identified as long-haulers, this is the most common symptom, reported by 1,567 out of the 1,567 surveyed.
Most Common: Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is a common symptom of an initial COVID infection, and often doesn't go away. While the majority of sufferers only experience breathing issues for a few weeks, long haulers can battle them for several months. According to the long hauler survey 1,020 out of 1,567 people reported this symptom
Most Common: Cough
An unrelenting dry cough is also another lingering symptom of COVID, per the CDC.
Most Common: Joint Pain
According to the long hauler survey, about a third of long haulers reported aches and pains in their joints for months after the virus subsided.
Most Common: Chest Pain
609 long haulers reported chest pain as one of their core symptoms of long COVID.
Common: Difficulty with Thinking and Concentration
Having trouble thinking or concentrating — sometimes referred to as "brain fog" — is another somewhat common manifestation of long COVID.
There are also mental health issues with those suffering from an extended COVID infection. The CDC notes that many people experience depression.
Common: Muscle Pain
In addition to joint pain, many sufferers note that they experience muscle pain as well.
Unrelenting headaches are another sign of long COVID, according to the CDC.
Common: Intermittent Fever
While fevers are one of the first symptoms people experience when infected with COVID, long-term sufferers report spiked body temperature for months after their initial infection.
Common: Irregular Heartbeat
Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations) is a sign you might have long COVID, per the CDC.
Less Common, More Serious: Cardiovascular
While less common than the other symptoms listed above, cardiovascular complications from the virus are a more serious form of long-term damage, per the CDC. One example they use is inflammation of the heart muscle.
Less Common, More Serious: Respiratory
Some long term COVID sufferers — even those who didn't initially show symptoms of the virus — also experience damage to their respiratory system, such as lung function abnormalities. According to one study of asymptomatic patients, more than half of them sustained lung abnormalities.
Less Common, More Serious: Renal Issues
The CDC reveals that renal damage, or acute kidney injury, is a less common but more serious symptom reported by long term COVID sufferers.
Less Common, More Serious: Dermatologic Issues
Dermatologic manifestations of long-term COVID have been reported. They include rash and hair loss.
Less Common, More Serious: Neurological Issues
A wide range of neurological problems have been identified in long term COVID patients. These include smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty with concentration, and memory problems, says the CDC.
Less Common, More Serious: Psychiatric Issues
Serious psychiatric issues—depression, anxiety, and changes in mood — are the final more serious long-term complication.
What is the Long-Long Term Significance?
The long-term significance of these effects is not yet known. "CDC will continue active investigation and provide updates as new data emerge, which can inform COVID-19 clinical care as well as the public health response to COVID-19," they explain.
How Can You Prevent Long-Term COVID?
The best way to prevent these long-term complications, is obviously to prevent becoming infected with the virus in the first place. "The best strategies for preventing COVID-19 infection in youth and adults are to wear a mask in public places, stay at least 6 feet away from other people, frequently wash your hands, and avoid crowds and confined or poorly ventilated spaces," they remind. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.