​​I'm a Doctor and Here are Signs Long COVID is the Reason You Feel "Sick all the Time"

After a bout of COVID-19, some people do not return to normal. Some experience a variety of symptoms that can vary from months to years of varying intensity and become classified as having Long Covid. Others may have similar issues without having Long Covid, but the misery can be equally debilitating. These symptoms can be intermittent or continuous and may even feel like recurrent bouts of Covid. Those with these issues should see a doctor because they can receive different treatments. Another reason to see someone is to ensure there is nothing else going on. While there are many potential symptoms here, here are some of the major ones.

1

Nonspecific symptoms that make you feel lousy

woman lying on bed at home sick suffering cold flu and temperature covered with blanket feeling unwell and feverish
woman lying on bed at home sick suffering cold flu and temperature covered with blanket feeling unwell and feverish

The most common of these is constant fatigue. The feeling makes one inactive and creates a horrible cycle where the low energy level worsens. Poor eating and sleeping habits ensue and perpetuate the problems.

2

Respiratory issues

in pain touching chest respiratory symptoms fever, coughing, body aches
in pain touching chest respiratory symptoms fever, coughing, body aches

Although respiratory symptoms are most apparent with primary Covid, many people can have shortness of breath and cough with Long Covid. The original infection may have caused some lung damage or fostered some chronic inflammation around the lungs. Importantly, blood clots can also occur in Long Covid and may even lead to pulmonary emboli to cause further lung issues.

3

Neurologic symptoms

Vertigo illness concept. Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.
Vertigo illness concept. Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.

Brain fog has always been noted to be a frequent symptom of Long Covid. However, other cerebral symptoms, such as memory impairment or difficulty concentrating, can also occur. Sometimes the peripheral nervous system can be involved and lead to sensations of pins and needles.

4

Digestive issues

stomach pain
stomach pain

Many abdominal issues can be consistent with Long Covid. Possibly due to the chronic inflammations around nerves in the GI tract, symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain can occur. 

5

Heart symptoms

older woman symptoms heart failure
older woman symptoms heart failure

Autonomic dysfunction or inflammation around the nerves to the heart and peripheral blood vessels can lead to a variety of cardiovascular symptoms. The most apparent are heart palpitations or a feeling of the heart racing. Some people even feel that they are having a heart attack. In such cases, prompt medical evaluation is warranted.

6

Aches and pains

Woman awakened lying in bed with her eyes open.
Woman awakened lying in bed with her eyes open.

A variety of symptoms occurring in the joints or muscles can occur after Covid infection. These nonspecific symptoms often appear as muscle aches or joint pains and can sometimes be debilitating and vary greatly in scope and intensity.

Dr. Soumi Eachempati, a Co-Founder and CEO of Cleared4, is a former Professor of Surgery and Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College where he worked from 1998-2017. Among his many accolades, Dr. Eachempati was also the Director of both the Surgical ICU as well as Trauma at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Center. He also received an appointment in the Division of Public Health.