Skip to content

#1 Symptom That Lasts Long After COVID, Says Mayo Clinic

According to their findings, “unusual fatigue” was the most common symptom, with a whopping 80 percent reporting it.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
A businesswoman rubbing her eyes.

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, health experts started to notice that some people—even with mild forms of the illness—weren't making a full recovery. Post-COVID-19 syndrome, also referred to as "PCS," "COVID-19 long-haul syndrome" and "Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS COV-2," is the long version of COVID-19 suffered by millions of people around the world that researchers have been struggling to understand. Now, a new study courtesy of the top hospital in the country, confirms three major health conditions that this group of people most commonly battles for months after they have recovered from the initial virus. Read on for a list of the most common symptoms to watch for—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this special report: I'm a Doctor and Warn You Never Take This Supplement.

"Unusual Fatigue" Was the Most Common Symptom

According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, fatigue, perceived cognitive impairment and mood disorders are all associated with post-COVID-19 syndrome. And, the symptoms are so severe that they can negatively affect returning to work and resuming normal activities,

The Mayo Clinic study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, involved the first 100 patients to participate in Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation program (CARP) who were evaluated and treated between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, a mean of 93 days after their initial infection with COVID-19. The group had a mean age of 45, and 68% were female. 

According to their findings, "unusual fatigue" was the most common symptom, with a whopping 80 percent reporting it. 59 percent reported respiratory complaints and a similar percentage complained of neurological issues. Over one out of three reported difficulties performing basic activities of daily living, while only one-third patients had returned to unrestricted work activity.

RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers

"Most patients in the study had no preexisting comorbidities prior to COVID-19 infection, and many did not experience symptoms related to COVID-19 that were severe enough to require hospitalization," says Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation program and first author of the study, explains in a press release. "Most of the patients had normal or nondiagnostic lab and imaging results, despite having debilitating symptoms. That's among the challenges of diagnosing PCS in a timely way and then responding effectively."

The symptoms were so severe that there were "significant negative effects" that made it difficult for patients to return to daily activities, including work. "Most patients with whom we worked required physical therapy, occupational therapy or brain rehabilitation to address the perceived cognitive impairment," says Dr. Vanichkachorn. "While many patients had fatigue, more than half also reported troubles with thinking, commonly known as 'brain fog.' And more than one-third of patients had trouble with basic activities of life. Many could not resume their normal work life for at least several months."

If you have recovered from an acute infection and are still experiencing prolonged symptoms, Dr. Vanichkachorn emphasizes the importance of being evaluated. 

What to Do if You Feel You Have Long COVID

Unfortunately, there is still a lot to be learned about long hauler syndrome, including "the percentage and the duration of it." However, there seems to be a "commonality of symptoms." If you think you might be a long hauler, you should contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible or reach out to one of the regional post-Covid care centers around the country. And get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't miss all 98 Sure Signs of Long COVID.