POST COVID TREATMENT OPTIONS


Post COVID Treatment Options

COVID-19: Post-COVID Conditions

Post-COVID Conditions are physical and mental health problems that can be new, returning, or ongoing four or more weeks after having the COVID-19 virus, even in people who initially had no symptoms.

Sometimes people refer to these symptoms and conditions as long COVID, PASC (post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection), long-term COVID-19, or long hauler COVID-19. 

What we know about long COVID

There is still a lot to learn about COVID-19 and long COVID. Many people with COVID-19 recover and return to their normal lives within a couple of weeks. Yet, some people may experience symptoms that last for weeks, months, or longer. We still don't know why some people get long COVID. But, we do know that long COVID can keep people from being able to do their usual daily activities.

Who can get long COVID?

Anyone who had the virus that causes COVID-19 can get long COVID, even children, young adults, and those who were not very ill when they had COVID-19. The best and only way to avoid getting long COVID is to protect yourself against COVID-19. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands frequently. Stay safe and protect yourself against COVID-19.

What is the cause of long COVID?

While the exact cause is not clear and is still under investigation, some evidence has suggested that symptoms and conditions could be related to one or more of the following:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Small blood clots
  • Dysregulation of the immune system
  • Generation of auto-antibodies
  • Organ damage
  • Viral persistence
  • Reactivation of other viruses (e.g., Epstein-Barr virus)
  • Sequelae of critical illness
  • Exacerbations of underlying health conditions

What are the symptoms of long COVID?

We are still learning about long COVID but the most common symptoms reported include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering things (sometimes referred to as "brain fog")
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss or change of smell or taste
  • Dizziness on standing
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental work

Is there a treatment for long COVID?

There is currently no proven medication for long COVID, but health care providers can provide care to reduce symptoms of long COVID. For most people with long COVID, the goal of medical management is to optimize function and quality of life. 

Diaries and calendars might be useful to document changes in symptoms, especially in relation to potential triggers such as exertion (physical and cognitive), foods, menstruation, and treatments or medications.  Such diaries and calendars can provide greater insight into symptoms and lived experience. 

There are reports that vaccination may improve symptoms of long COVID for some patients. More research will help to better understand these reports.

Available resources and support:

Post-COVID Care Clinics in California:

Location of Post-COVID Care Clinic in California: Post COVID Care Centers - CA — Survivor Corps

COVID-19: Post Covid Conditions

 

For Patients:

CDC on Post-COVID Conditions: Post-COVID Conditions | CDC

CDC on Caring for People with Post-COVID Conditions: Caring for People with Post-COVID Conditions | CDC

Guidance on Long COVID as a Disability: Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557 | HHS.gov

CDPH on Long COVID: COVID-19 Symptoms and Risks Q&A (ca.gov)

Advocacy and Support Groups:

 

For Healthcare Providers:

CDC:

CDC on Post-COVID Conditions Information for Healthcare Providers: Post-COVID Conditions: Information for Healthcare Providers (cdc.gov)

CDC Interim Guidance on Evaluating and Caring for Post-COVID Conditions

 

NIH:

NIH RECOVER Initiative: About the Initiative | RECOVER COVID

NIH Long COVID: NIH launches new initiative to study “Long COVID” | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

 

WHO

WHO Update on Clinical Long-Term Effects of COVID-19: Clinical Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 (WHO.int)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Post COVID-19 condition (who.int)

IDSA

Post COVID Conditions (e.g. Long COVID) (idsociety.org)

AAPM&R

Long COVID (PASC) Resources (aapmr.org)