Understanding Post-COVID Long Term Symptoms
Individuals experiencing symptoms sometimes refer to themselves as “long haulers” because they are experiencing longer symptoms of COVID-19. During acute illness, COVID-19 can cause damage to organs throughout the body. This increases the risk of long-term health problems that individuals may continue to face months after the initial infection.
While the lungs are the first organs affected by COVID-19, we are learning that many organs beyond the lungs can be affected. Healthcare providers are reporting long-term impacts that may affect the heart, kidneys, skin and brain.
Even people who were asymptomatic or had mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms long after the few weeks it takes most people to recover.
Any combination of these longer-term symptoms may include:
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Joint pain
- Chest or stomach pain
- Mood changes
- Difficulty thinking and concentrating (brain fog)
- Muscle pain
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Intermittent fever
- Pins and needles feeling
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Changes in taste or smell
- Changes in menstrual period cycles
One of the most important parts of recovering from a severe illness is connecting with others in your shoes. Check out American Lung Association support groups and ask your healthcare team about other local groups in your area.
- Online Support Communities
The American Lung Association has online communities on Inspire.com. Individuals register to join a community. Members can choose their level of participation and engagement.
- Better Breathers Club
Join the Better Breathers Club Network to discover new ways to cope with lung disease and provide support from others who share in your struggles. These virtual support groups give you the tools you need to live the best quality of life you can.
- Talk to an Expert
Talk to our trained lung health professionals at the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine. Our service is free and we are here to help you with your questions.
- Join a Clinical Trail. Your experience can help build a larger understanding of Long COVID. Visit CombatCovid.hhs.gov to learn more.
Page last updated: November 16, 2021