17 Sure Signs You May Have "Long COVID," Says New Study
Every day we are learning more about the long form of COVID-19, post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or more informally, long hauler syndrome, as more resources have become available to researchers. While most of what we know about the condition stems from those who were hospitalized with COVID, on Tuesday, a new study was published in The Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, focusing on 100 individuals suffering from PASC whose initial COVID infections were mild at most. Of them, a whopping 85 percent experienced four or more neurological issues, as well as a bunch of other debilitating symptoms. Read on to find out what they are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You May Have Tinnitus
One of the more peculiar symptoms reported by nearly one-third of the respondents was tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. The Mayo Clinic explains that it is a "ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears that may be constant or come and go, often associated with hearing loss."
You May Have Gastrointestinal Complaints
Many long haulers—29 percent of those surveyed—reported gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea and nausea. "A lot of patients with lingering symptoms report constipation or diarrhea that persists for a few days, then resolves, then returns again," F. Perry Wilson, a Yale Medicine physician and clinical researcher and associate professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, previously told Eat This, Not That! Health.
You May Have Blurred Vision
30 percent of those with the condition also reported vision problems, specifically blurred vision. "Diana Berrent has experienced symptoms ranging from headaches to stomach issues to glaucoma — even nine months after her March infection. Now, her 12-year-old son has developed long-hauler symptoms as well," reports WBUR.
You May Have a Variation of Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
It has been established that long haulers experience cardiovascular symptoms. One of the main ones, reported by 30 of those surveyed, were fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure.
You May Have Insomnia
One-third of participants, 33 percent, claim that long COVID has impacted their sleep, reporting insomnia as a symptom. According to a larger survey of more than 1,500 people in the Survivor Corp Facebook group, half of patients recovering from COVID-19 reported sleeping difficulties.
You May Have Chest Pain
More than one-third, 37 percent, experience chest pain. The Mayo Clinic explains that sudden, sharp chest pains—aka pleurisy—may indicate lung wall inflammation.
You May Have Pain
General pain—including joint and abdominal—is reported by 43 percent of long haulers. The Mayo Clinic explains that joint pain is often related to inflammation, which is common in COVID-19 infections. "Inflammation attacks joint tissues, causing fluid in your joints, swelling, muscle damage, and more," explains Penn Medicine orthopedic surgeon, Christopher S. Travers, MD.
You May Have Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms reported by those with an initial COVID-19 infection. Of those with long hauler syndrome, 46 percent still struggle to breathe. "Shortness of breath, particularly with exercise (even climbing a flight of stairs) can be really debilitating," Dr. Wilson said.
You May Have Depression or Anxiety
Nearly half of the long haulers surveyed (47 percent) reported mental health issues—including depression or anxiety.
You May Have Dizziness
Feeling dizzy or unbalanced is another neurological manifestation of the virus, reported by nearly half (47 percent) of respondents. "This may be due to the weakness many patients have after a tough bout with COVID, but any balance or persistent dizziness should be evaluated by a medical professional," Dr. Wilson says.
You May Have a Disorder of Smell
A whopping 55 percent of respondents reported smell disorders. "Some patients still haven't fully recovered their sense of smell months after they lost it during the initial infection," Dr. Wilson explained. "Many people might not recognize how serious this is, but without smell people may not eat as well, may inadvertently expose themselves to contaminated food, and, more broadly, life just feels less colorful. Though we don't often think about it, smell is hugely important for our well-being."
You May Have Muscle Pain
Muscle pain was reported by 55 percent of those surveyed. "One of the more common long-hauler symptoms, muscle aches—particularly after exercise—can limit activity," says Dr. Wilson.
You May Have a Disorder of Taste
Loss of taste, which generally goes along with disordered smell, is a common sign of a COVID-19 infection and even more common with long haulers. A stunning 59 percent of those surveyed reported it.
You May Have Numbness or Tingling
Per the U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Neuralgia is a sharp, shocking pain that follows the path of a nerve and is due to irritation or damage to the nerve." It can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, such as herpes zoster (shingles), HIV/AIDS, Lyme disease, and syphilis. 60 percent of long haulers reported it as a symptom.
You May Have a Headache
A headache is an extremely common complaint of long haulers, with 68 percent reporting it. Some long haulers, including a woman in this case report, suffer headaches that last for months after their initial infection. "New daily persistent headache (NDPH) is another chronic headache that can be triggered by viral diseases," the researchers explain.
You May Have Cognitive Dysfunction
According to the survey, the top neurological symptom was cognitive function, AKA brain fog. It was reported by a whopping 81 percent of respondents. "This is a sense of feeling not 100% sharp, which can be hard for patients to describe," Dr. Wilson specifies. "They just don't feel on top of their mental game."
You May Have Fatigue
The overwhelming majority of long haulers suffer from fatigue, per the study. 85 percent of those surveyed reported severe exhaustion as their main symptom. "This is one of the most commonly reported symptoms and can be quite severe," reveals Dr. Wilson.
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Protect Yourself and Others From PASC
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider to discuss your options. Alternatively, you can call a local post COVID center specializing in PASC. And, don't forget 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.