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Understanding the effects of long COVID

Last Modified: June 12, 2022

Diseases & Disorders, Family Medicine, Community


This post was written by Jessica Pater, MS, PhD, manager and research scientist, Health Services and Informatics Research, Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation.

Persistent or chronic issues related to a COVID infection can go by many names: post-COVID, COVID long-haul, long COVID, post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection, and more. Regardless of the name, our understanding of this issue continues to grow as more people come forward and share their ongoing struggles and seek medical attention for these issues.

Defining the issue

What is post-COVID? Simply stated, it’s the ongoing or lingering health problems associated with a COVID diagnosis. People will test negative for COVID-19; however, they may continue to experience symptoms [1] or even develop new issues [2]. There is currently no test to diagnose post-COVID conditions. Additionally, many post-COVID symptoms are like those that may connect to other co-morbidities or underlying health issues, which can make it difficult for healthcare providers to recognize these post-COVID conditions [3]. Many people dealing with post-COVID issues speak about their ongoing struggles with symptoms, many dealing with multiple types simultaneously and the impact it has on their daily lives. The recovery time ranges from person to person, but a recent study shows that this can exceed 35 weeks [4].

Some of the most common post-COVID symptoms can include [1,5]:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Brain fog/cognitive issues
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Change in smell and/or taste
  • Depression and/or Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Digestive issues
Steps to take if you are suffering from post-COVID
  • Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can formulate a plan to address your symptoms and/or refer you to specialists based on the symptoms you are experiencing.
  • Keep a diary of your symptoms and their effects. This could be helpful for your doctor(s) to review. The American Academy of Family Physicians has advice on creating a health diary found here.
  • Seek out support. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people dealing with or supporting those with post-COVID to read about the experiences of others with a post-COVID condition [3]. Some social media platforms provide spaces for formal and informal online support groups for people dealing with post-COVID. These can help harness the knowledge of the community. Parkview offers a Post-COVID Clinic Support Group that meets each month. Patients who want more information can call or send a MyChart message to the clinic for more information on dates, times and locations.
  • Contribute to ongoing research. By participating in research studies, we can better understand post-COVID and its impacts on individuals. There are ongoing post-COVID research projects and clinical trials happening here at Parkview. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created the RECOVER project: Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery, another online space to learn more, share your experience, and volunteer to participate in research.  



[1] “COVID ‘Long Haulers’: Long-Term Effects of COVID-19. (8 December 2021). Johns Hopkins Medicine.

[2] COVID-19: Understanding long COVID

[3] Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions

[4] Davis, H. E., Assaf, G. S., McCorkell, L., Wei, H., Low, R. J., Re'em, Y., Redfield, S., Austin, J.P & Akrami, A. (2021). Characterizing long COVID in an international cohort: 7 months of symptoms and their impact. EClinicalMedicine38, 101019.

[5] Nath, A. (2020). Long-haul COVID. Neurology95(13), 559-560.

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