Sometimes called “Long COVID,” Long-term COVID symptoms can persist months and years after the initial coronavirus infection. Symptoms in the months after an infection and subsequent recovery can vary from patient to patient, but you should know what they are when you come down with the illness. First things first: being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from severe COVID-19 and Long COVID.
Symptoms of COVID include difficulty breathing, fatigue, confusion, persistent or nagging cough, chest pain, stomach pain, headache, heart palpitations, joint pain, diarrhea, fever, dizziness, rash, mood swings, loss of smell or taste, and menstrual period changes. These symptoms can change depending on the variant or whether a person has been vaccinated.
Many of these symptoms persist for months in some patients.
Many people still compare COVID-19 to the seasonal flu (or even think it’s a variation of the same), but it’s not the flu. The disease caused by coronavirus usually affects the lungs, but it can damage other organs as well — which is why one of the aforementioned symptoms is diarrhea. Sometimes the virus affects a person’s intestinal tract and stomach.
Those with the worst complications might endure damage to the heart, chronic kidney impairment, and even Guillain-Barre syndrome. The latter can cause short-term paralysis.
The disease can also result in blood clots due to clumping blood cells. These clots can result in heart attack and stroke. They can also damage the legs, liver, lungs, and kidneys.
Those with Long COVID will often complain of fatigue and require long-term hospitalization in intensive care. This can be costly.
The bottom line? COVID-19 is still much more dangerous than many people believe — and we still aren’t sure where it all ends. We won’t know the true severity of the long-term effects for years. Will the disease result in a reduced life expectancy for individuals who survive it? Will it result in cancer? We don’t know. What we do know is that the vaccine can diminish many of these symptoms. Go get one.
So far, there’s no one to sue if you get sick — at least not reliably. This is a far-reaching societal problem, probably endemic, and there’s no one party responsible for all the blame.