Despite fluctuating COVID-19 numbers, long COVID cases continue to grow. While most people who have it recover, it’s a slow process that requires a lot of patience.
CNBC spoke with a variety of experts who provided some analyses on long COVID, including how to know if you have it and what to do with that information.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), long COVID is a term used to refer to a variety of symptoms that can last months and even years. “Post-COVID conditions are found more often in people who had severe COVID-19 illness, but anyone who has been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions, even people who had mild illness or no symptoms from COVID-19,” explains the CDC website.
Dr. Jason Maley, director of the long COVID clinic at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, spoke with CNBC and provided some guidance for people who want to know if they could have the disease. Maley advises people who have contracted COVID-19 to do a self-check-in a month after they’ve recovered.
“Look out for common symptoms like changes in [your] thinking, memory and [your] ability to perform at work or to function effectively at home,” he says. Long Covid symptoms vary greatly and can appear to be unrelated. They include fever, headaches, sleep problems, fatigue, and more, allowing for there to be plenty of confusion. Checking in with yourself for any symptoms that are out of the norm is a helpful way of knowing where you stand.
There are also cases of many asymptomatic COVID-19 infections. While people with long Covid tend to have experienced a significant COVID-19 infection and thus have had to cope with symptoms that were likely notorious, it helps to stay vigilant and to keep an eye out for any symptoms that are out of the norm and have recently appeared.
There are currently no treatments for long COVID, but experts suggest approaching your days with more care and taking on a slower pace to your lifestyle. They suggest keeping an eye out for triggering activities that can launch periods of fatigue and exhaustion. They also suggest breathing exercises or yoga practices for dealing with shortness of breath.
Long COVID appears to be related to people’s initial reaction to their COVID-19 infection, their age, and comorbidities.
After living with the disease for some time, researchers believe that once the virus leaves the body, its impact lingers, expressing itself through a variety of symptoms. The most effective method of protection is to be fully vaccinated and boosted.