Sure Signs You Have Long COVID, Says Dr. Fauci in New Report
More than 10% of those who get coronavirus suffer from a "post-acute COVID syndrome or PACS"—also called Long COVID and it's sufferers long haulers—according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Symptoms may last months, or a lifetime. "We're doing, right now, cohort studies to examine the prevalence and the duration of a syndrome in which individuals following the clearance of virus have lingering symptoms," Dr. Fauci said this week at a meeting with American Association for the Advancement of Science. Read on to see the symptoms he mentioned—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You Will Likely Feel Fatigue
"In a recent study from China, in a cohort of over 1,700 patients, the six month followup showed a significant proportion of people with" fatigue, said Dr. Fauci. He has previously compared this fatigue—and other post-acute COVID syndrome symptoms—to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis. A hallmark symptom of that is, of course, fatigue, as well as the other symptoms you're about to read about.
You May Have Brain Fog
Dr. Fauci called this "an inability to focus or concentrate." This is similar to ME/CFS. "Most people with ME/CFS have trouble thinking quickly, remembering things, and paying attention to details," says the CDC. "Patients often say they have 'brain fog' to describe this problem because they feel 'stuck in a fog' and not able to think clearly."
You May Feel Weakness
Weakness is a symptom of Long COVID, as Jim Golen, a home care nurse, knows all too well, it can knock you down. He shared his story with Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health, writing that, on his hobby farm, he had grown a potato "meticulously. Shortly after my embolisms were treated, I was able to squat down and weed in the garden. Then the weakness progressed to the point that I was forced to sit. I pushed a piece of cardboard along the ground to sit on as I pulled weeds, but I could not see them through the tears. I remember thinking, 'This is what I have been reduced to.'"
You May Have Sleep Difficulties
Insomnia, vivid dreams, nightmares—expect it all. "Among patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, symptoms of fatigue and muscle weakness, as well as sleep difficulties, were shown to persist in more than 1 in 4 patients after 6 months," says a study in AJMC.
You May Have Anxiety or Depression
Who wouldn't, after being sick from COVID for a year? But the anxiety or depression may not just be situational; it may be neurological. "As many as 1 in 3 patients recovering from Covid-19 could experience neurological or psychological after-effects of their infections, experts told STAT, reflecting a growing consensus that the disease can have lasting impact on the brain," reports the website. "Beyond the fatigue felt by 'long haulers' as they heal post-Covid, these neuropsychological problems range from headache, dizziness, and lingering loss of smell or taste to mood disorders and deeper cognitive impairment."
What to Do If You Feel This Way
Doctors have no cure for Long COVID. But many are on the case. "Right now a considerable amount of resources will be put into determining the extent, the prevalence and hopefully understanding the pathogenesis of this very confounding syndrome regarding therapeutics," said Dr. Fauci. "There've been a number of clinical trials, some of which have been randomized placebo controlled trials." Contact your doctor, however, as they can possibly help relieve certain symptoms, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.