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If You're Sick for This Long, You May Have "Long" COVID

Some of them last several months post-infection.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Woman suffering from stomach cramps on the sofa at home.

According to some studies, post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (PASC), otherwise known as the long version of COVID-19, impacts nearly one-third of people infected with the virus—including individuals whose initial infections may be mild to moderate. Now, a new preprint study involving 5,136 survivors hopes to offer a deeper understanding of what these people, who call themselves long haulers, are suffering. One of the measures? Which of their symptoms last the longest. Read on to find out what they are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise

1

You Might Have Shortness of Breath

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Shortness of breath is one of the first symptoms of an initial COVID-19 infection. And, according to long haulers, it is also one of the longest lasting, with an average time of 96.9 days. 

2

You Might Have a Hormone Imbalance

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Long haulers reported hormonal imbalances for 99.1 days. According to one study, COVID-19 can damage the endocrine system, the glands which secrete hormones or other products directly into the blood. "The virus that causes COVID-19—SARS-CoV-2—binds to the ACE2 receptor, a protein which is expressed in many tissues. This allows the virus to enter endocrine cells and cause the mayhem associated with the disease," explained Noel Pratheepan Somasundaram of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, one of the authors. 

3

You Might Have Sadness

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Another prolonged symptom or side effect long haulers report is a feeling of sadness, lasting an average of 99.2 days. Dr. Natalie Lambert, one of the authors of the study, has previously said that COVID-19 induced sadness may be a result of neurological damage wreaked by the virus. 

4

You Might Have Memory Problems

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Memory problems are another neurological symptom of long COVID that just won't quit. According to those surveyed, they have difficulty remembering things for an average of 100.8 days. 

5

You Might Have Difficulty Concentrating

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Many long haulers struggle when it comes to concentration, leaving them unable to work or return to school. This lasts approximately 101.1 days post-infection. According to the CDC, in addition to having trouble thinking clearly, remembering things, and paying attention to details, they suffer from brain fog, a feeling of being "'stuck in a fog' and not able to think clearly."

6

You Might Have Fatigue

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Excessive fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms of all for long haulers—and one of the longest lasting. The average amount of time a long hauler reported it was 101.7 days. 

7

You Might Have an Inability to Exercise

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Many long haulers have to abstain from fitness altogether, due to their exhaustion. Per the survey, the average time they were unable to exercise was 106.5 days. 

8

You Might Have "Frequently Changing" Symptoms

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The longest lasting symptom actually involves many of them. According to those surveyed they suffered from "frequently changing" symptoms for an average of 112 days. In fact, some symptoms are plaguing patients for more than a year, including fatigue. When—or if—they might ever go away, no one knows.

9

Protect Yourself From PASC

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If you think you suffer from PASC, contact your healthcare provider or a local post-COVID care center. And to prevent becoming a long hauler, continue to follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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.