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Long Covid

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is long COVID?

Long COVID is a term used to describe ongoing effects of COVID-19 infection. Signs and symptoms are considered long COVID if they begin or continue at least 4 weeks after the infection. Experts believe the immune system in some people overreacts to the virus that causes COVID-19. The immune system attacks the virus, but it also attacks healthy nerves, blood vessels, and organs. It is not yet known how long symptoms could continue. Anyone who had COVID-19 can develop long COVID, even if symptoms were mild or never developed at all. Long COVID may also be called post-COVID conditions, post-acute COVID, or chronic COVID. Long-term effects caused by the virus may also be called post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC).

What are the signs and symptoms of long COVID?

Signs and symptoms may happen sometimes or all the time. Some may get better and then return or worsen later. Some may be worse with physical or mental activities. You may have any of the following:

How is long COVID diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will need to know when your symptoms started. Tell your provider if anything makes your symptoms better or worse. Problems might not show up on tests, but your symptoms may be enough for a diagnosis of long COVID. Your provider may want to do any of the following tests:

How is long COVID treated?

No specific treatment is available for long COVID. Your healthcare provider may recommend any of the following, depending on your symptoms:

What can I do to manage my symptoms?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.