What is Long COVID and How Do You Know If You Have It?

John Whyte, MD

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September 28, 2021

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DR. JOHN WHYTE: Although most people who have had COVID recover within a couple of weeks, others are still having symptoms, months later. When this occurs, it's referred to as long COVID. And those people who suffer from it are often called long-haulers.

So how do you know if you have it? Typically, you don't feel quite right, even though it's been months since you've had COVID. You might be tired a lot or experiencing a lot of GI discomfort, such as abdominal pain or diarrhea.

You might feel your heart racing -- something you didn't notice before. Your smell and taste might still be off, and you might feel like you're in a brain fog, with difficulty concentrating or remembering things. We are seeing long COVID more often, especially in people who've been hospitalized.

We don't yet know the cause, and it's important for me to point out that you are not infectious if you have long COVID. We don't have any special test to diagnose it, but there are some in development. As for treatment, there are some clinics opening up around the country, specializing in long COVID. And you should check with your doctor if there's one in your area.

There's also some clinical trials that you might be eligible for. For now, you'll likely need to get care from different specialists to help you recover. Of course, a healthy diet, physical activity, and adequate sleep can help treat some of the symptoms.

The best strategy for long COVID is prevention. So please protect yourself and loved ones from getting COVID by getting vaccinated.

This interview originally appeared on WebMD on September 28, 2021

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