More than eight months into the pandemic, there's a lot doctors are still learning about COVID-19. That includes the long-term effects some people experience once their bodies have cleared the virus, which is called "Long COVID" or "Post-COVID Syndrome." In fact, anywhere from 20% to maybe 30% of people who had COVID may experience this. "We're learning that once you get rid of the virus in a certain proportion of people, they still can not necessarily feel normal for variable periods of time," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, in a Q&A with the Washington Post on Monday. Fauci went on to describe some of the most common "Post-COVID Syndrome" symptoms, which can last for weeks or months—and in some "long haulers," have yet to resolve, their lives ruined. Read on so you can better protect yourself from this debilitating syndrome, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
"They can infect anybody," noted Fauci about "Long COVID" symptoms. "It takes them anywhere from weeks to months, and maybe even beyond, to feel perfectly normal. And they have a constellation of symptoms and signs that seem to be consistent when you talk to different people." The first that Fauci noted: Extreme fatigue. According to the Long Hauler Symptom Survey, 100% of COVID patients reported lingering fatigue.
Shortness of Breath
"Even people who were athletes and were really very well-conditioned have trouble going up a flight of stairs," Fauci warned about the after-effects of COVID-19. The coronavirus can cause inflammation in the lungs, which can take time to heal.
People with "Long COVID" may "have temperature control problems. They feel chilly. They feel warm," said Fauci. This can lead to sleep disturbances, impairing recovery.
"Some of them describe what's called brain fog, which is not a particularly appropriate term, but what they really mean by that is that they have difficulty focusing or concentrating," said Fauci.
How to Avoid Getting Post-COVID Syndrome—or COVID at All
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.