About Long COVID

Most people who have COVID recover within a few weeks. Long COVID is when people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 still experience symptoms four weeks or more after the severe phase of the illness. The term Long COVID was created by patients and is defined as the signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after initial COVID-19 infection (COVID.gov). Long COVID may impact one or more different areas of the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin or brain (CDC).

Many things are still not known about the cause, diagnosis and treatment of Long COVID. Sometimes the long-term symptoms are bad enough to interfere with daily life. Some people with Long COVID have mild to moderate symptoms that slowly get better after several months. Others may have more severe symptoms and face challenges returning to work, school, family life, exercise and other activities that help them to thrive. A subset of people will have very severe symptoms that leave them disabled by Long COVID. We don’t yet know if these effects will be permanent (Minnesota Department of Health).


The virus that causes COVID-19 can impact many systems of the body. People with Long COVID can have a variety of symptoms that can last for weeks, months or years after infection. Symptoms vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. 

Some symptoms of Long COVID

•    Feeling tired, especially after mental or physical effort
•    Fever
•    Difficulty breathing
•    Coughing
•    Chest pain
•    Change in smell and/or taste
•    Difficulty thinking or focusing or “brain fog”
•    Headache
•    Stomach pain
•    Changes in menstrual cycles


Who Can Develop Long COVID?

Long COVID is more common among people who had a severe COVID-19 illness, but anyone infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 could get Long COVID. People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 may be at higher risk of developing Long COVID (CDC). 

Preventing Long COVID 

The best way to avoid Long COVID conditions is to protect yourself against COVID-19. Prevention strategies like staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, isolating and quarantining when necessary and wearing a well-fitting mask when recommended can help keep you and others from getting sick. Current research shows that people who are vaccinated are less likely to develop Long COVID conditions compared to people who are not vaccinated.

What is Being Done to Address Long COVID?

In July 2023, the Health and Human Services Administration of the federal government formed the Office of Long COVID Research and Practice and launched Long COVID clinical trials through the RECOVER Initiative.

Resources and Support for Patients

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