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Can COVID-19 Leave Lingering Symptoms? Long-Term Effects, Long Haulers

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Nearly 80 percent of people infected with COVID-19 experience one or more lingering symptoms post-recovery.

Millions of individuals have recovered from COVID-19, but many of them experienced lingering, returning, and long-lasting symptoms post-recovery. It is not known yet why some people have long COVID-19, but it is speculated that factors such as older age, female gender, high body mass index, and severe initial infection are more likely to develop long COVID-19.

It is estimated that 80 percent of people with COVID-19 have one or more lingering symptoms. Long COVID-19 increases the risk of long-term problems that you may face months after the initial infection.

A study in 2021 reported that 76 percent of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 reported at least one symptom that persisted, mostly fatigue or muscle weakness, six months after the onset of illness.

What is long COVID-19?

COVID-19 comes with a long list of symptoms; however, the severity and duration of them vary from person to person. A few symptoms tend to last longer and extend into your recovery period.

Symptoms such as fatigue, respiratory symptoms, and loss of taste and smell last longer than other symptoms and persist beyond the contagious period.

The World Health Organization defines long COVID-19 as follows:

“Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually three months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and that last for at least two months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.”?

Synonyms of this condition are as follows:

  • Post COVID-19 conditions
  • Chronic COVID-19
  • COVID-19 long-haulers
  • Post-acute COVID-19
  • Long-tail COVID-19
  • Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2

What are the symptoms of long COVID-19?

New research refers to acute and chronic COVID-19 as symptoms that extend beyond 3 and 12 weeks, respectively, since the onset of infection.

Symptoms of long COVID-19 include:

Can you get reinfected with COVID-19?

Yes, you can get reinfected with COVID-19 (a rare occurrence), which is called a breakthrough infection and may be due to a poor immune status or mutant form of the virus.

A recent study reported that unvaccinated adults were two times as likely to get reinfected with COVID-19 as those who got vaccinated after they had recovered from their illness.

Which organs are most affected by COVID-19?

Although lungs are the first and most common organs affected, COVID-19 can cause damage to other organs such as the heart, kidneys, skin, and brain.

What are the possible complications after recovering from COVID-19?

Some of the most common consequences of COVID-19 include:

  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (a disorder of the autonomic nervous system)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event)
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the myocardium [heart muscle])
  • Kidney damage
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
  • Mucormycosis (a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes)
  • Venous thromboembolism (a blood clot in the deep veins)
  • Seizure (a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells)
  • Stroke (loss of blood flow to the brain)
  • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
  • Guillain–Barre syndrome (a rare neurological disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system)
  • Brain fog (sustained reduction in attention span, memory impairment, and disorientation)

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