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What Top Doctors Wish Patients Knew About Long-Haul Covid

If you’re feeling “off”, sick, or have had lingering health symptoms weeks after your COVID infection has cleared, you could be facing long-haul COVID. Known as “long-haul COVID syndrome” or better known as “Long COVID”, individuals (regardless of age) are experiencing a wide range of persistent symptoms and even new conditions four or more weeks after the initial COVID infection has cleared (the World Health Organization). While there are many unanswered questions and much research is still being done, new findings have surfaced that give surprising, albeit helpful, information.

The latest research says:

    • Long haul COVID doesn’t just affect the elderly
    • Symptoms could last up to 2 years instead of a few months
    • Respiratory issues aren’t the only long haul COVID indicators

When it comes to getting your health back on track, education around the issue becomes powerful in order to find the answers you need.

Beyond Respiratory Issues: the Surprising Range of Long Haul Symptoms

The COVID-19 illness brings flu-like symptoms such as a fever, headache, cough, sore throat, and respiratory issues that could lead to more serious problems if not addressed. What we’ve learned so far about long-haul COVID, however, is that it goes far beyond respiratory and flu-like symptoms.

What Top Doctors Wish Patients Knew About Long-Haul Covid

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    The Most Prevalent Symptoms of Long Haul Covid

    The most prevalent symptoms of long-haul COVID are:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
    • Tiredness or chronic fatigue that affects daily activities
    • Symptoms that exacerbate with physical or mental effort 
    • Fever
    • Chest pain 
    • Cough 
    • Fast-beating or pounding heart
    • Brain fog: difficulty thinking or concentrating
    • Headache
    • Insomnia or sleep issues
    • Dizziness when you stand up 
    • Pins-and-needles feeling
    • Depression or anxiety 
    • Change in smell or taste 
    • Diarrhea 
    • Stomach pain 
    • Joint or muscle pain 
    • Rash 
    • Changes in menstrual cycle


    Many of the reported symptoms are akin to those endured by persons suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). These symptoms often come after another illness, can be hard to classify, and are poorly understood. 

    At-Risk Populations: Who is More Likely to Develop Long Haul Covid?

    In the beginning, it was speculated that only the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions could experience more serious issues or long haul COVID. In recent studies however, it shows it’s not as cut-and-dry: a recent report shows that 1 in 5 young adults (aged 18-49) experience long haul COVID even after mild initial infections. It stated that 21.4% of young adults with confirmed COVID-19 had at least one long-term symptom 3-6 months after the infection. 

    Personalizing Risk: Factors That May Influence Long Haul Covid Development

    While anyone can get long haul COVID, there are specific risk factors that could increase an individual’s likelihood of experiencing symptoms long after their COVID infection has cleared. A recent review in Nature Reviews Rheumatology says that underlying autoimmune conditions (such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or psoriasis), could contribute. Increasing age, being female, white ethnicity, poor pre-pandemic general and mental health, overweight/obesity, and asthma were also associated factors with prolonged symptoms of COVID, according to this report. Many autoimmune conditions go undetected, leaving many people confused as to why they’re experiencing long haul COVID at all.

    It’s possible to experience a renewed sense of wellbeing with our Long Haul COVID treatments—schedule your consultation with a Forum Health clinic today.

    Citations & Sources:

    A life altered by long COVID – Susan’s experience, 9 August 2022, World Health Organization

    Autoimmune diseases articles from across Nature Portfolio, NaturePortfolio

    Ayush Batra 1, Avindra Nath 2, Igor J Koralnik 1, “Postacute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection” JAMA. 2023 Oct 17;330(15):1491-1492. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.15709.

    Barbara Mantel, “Long Covid explanation in new study possibly paves way for tests and treatments”, Jan. 18, 2024, NBC News

    “Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions”, March 14, 2024, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

    Ellen J. Thompson, Dylan M. Williams, Alex J. Walker, Ruth E. Mitchell, Claire L. Niedzwiedz, Tiffany C. Yang, Charlotte F. Huggins, Alex S. F. Kwong, Richard J. Silverwood, Giorgio Di Gessa, Ruth C. E. Bowyer, Kate Northstone, Bo Hou, Michael J. Green, Brian Dodgeon, Katie J. Doores, Emma L. Duncan, Frances M. K. Williams, OpenSAFELY Collaborative, “Long COVID Burden and Risk Factors in 10 UK Longitudinal Studies and Electronic Health Records, 28 June 2022, Nature Communications 

    Jason Gale, “Patient Had COVID-19 for Record 613 Days”, Time

    Jefferson Jones, MD MPH FAAP, CDR, US Public Health Service, “Infection-induced and hybrid immunity”, CDC Presentation

    Kailin Yin, Michael J. Peluso, Xiaoyu Luo, Reuben Thomas, Min-Gyoung Shin, Jason Neidleman, Alicer Andrew, Kyrlia C. Young, Tongcui Ma, Rebecca Hoh, Khamal Anglin, Beatrice Huang, Urania Argueta, Monica Lopez, Daisy Valdivieso, Kofi Asare, Tyler-Marie Deveau, Sadie E. Munter, Rania Ibrahim, Ludger Ständker, Scott Lu, Sarah A. Goldberg, Sulggi A. Lee, Kara L. Lynch, J. Daniel Kelly, Jeffrey N. Martin, Jan Münch, Steven G. Deeks, Timothy J. Henrich & Nadia R. Roan, “Long COVID manifests with T cell dysregulation, inflammation and an uncoordinated adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2”, 11 January 2024. 

    “Long COVID, What You Should Know”, American Family Physician. 

    Marco Ranucci, Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing, Funding acquisition,1,* Ekaterina Baryshnikova, Methodology, Investigation, Data curation, Writing – review & editing, Project administration,1 Martina Anguissola, Investigation, Data curation, Project administration,1 Sara Pugliese, Investigation, Data curation, Project administration,1 Luca Ranucci, Investigation,1 Mara Falco, Conceptualization, Writing – original draft,2 and Lorenzo Menicanti, Conceptualization, Writing – review & editing3César Fernández De Las Peñas, Academic Editor, “The Very Long COVID: Persistence of Symptoms after 12–18 Months from the Onset of Infection and Hospitalization”, J Clin Med. 2023 Mar; 12(5): 1915.

    Post-COVID Conditions: Information for Healthcare Providers, February 6, 2024, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    “What is Long COVID? National Institutes of Health, COVID-19 Research

    Wolfram Ruf, “Immune Damage in Long COVID”, 18 January, 2024, Science.