A major study observing patients who had COVID-19 and still feel terrible after six months has just been published in The Lancet. These “long haulers,” as they are called, have Long COVID, or Post-COVID Syndrome, an affliction that hobbles an estimated 10% or more who get coronavirus. Do you have it? Symptoms can include everything from hair loss to chest pain, and, according to the study: “at 6 months after acute infection, COVID-19 survivors were mainly troubled with” the following most common symptoms. Read on to see what they are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
The Most Common Symptom of Post-COVID Syndrome is Fatigue
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said Post-COVID Syndrome bears a “striking resemblance” to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, which the CDC calls “a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems. People with ME/CFS are often not able to do their usual activities. At times, ME/CFS may confine them to bed. People with ME/CFS have severe fatigue and sleep problems. ME/CFS may get worse after people with the illness try to do as much as they want or need to do. This symptom is known as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Other symptoms can include problems with thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness.”
You Could Feel Muscle Weakness
“Lying sick in bed at home or in the hospital for an extended period can lead to muscle atrophy – weakening due to limited use,” reports UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Healthy people can lose approximately 1% to 1.5% of muscle strength per day with bedrest.” Not to mention: “For many, recovery has been among the steepest physical and mental challenges they’ve endured. Patients are reporting substantial functional deficits, such as lingering lung problems, muscle weakness, and cognitive concerns ranging from ‘brain fog’ to delirium.”
You Might Have Sleep Difficulties
You may have nightmares, vivid dreams or insomnia. “Several mysteries of how COVID-19 works converge on the question of how the disease affects our sleep, and how our sleep affects the disease,” reports the Atlantic. “The virus is capable of altering the delicate processes within our nervous system, in many cases in unpredictable ways, sometimes creating long-term symptoms. Better appreciating the ties between immunity and the nervous system could be central to understanding COVID-19—and to preventing it.”
You Could Get Anxiety
Given that no one knows when Long COVID goes away—or if it ever does—those who have it can feel like they’re in an “internal prison” with no key. This can cause anxiety, naturally—as can the virus crossing the “blood-brain barrier” and short-circuiting your nervous system.
RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors
You Could Have Depression
“Anxiety or depression was reported among 23% of patients,” say the study’s authors. Discuss your depression with your doctor. “Coronavirus infections can lead to delirium, anxiety, depression, manic symptoms, poor memory, and insomnia,” said another report in The Lancet.
More Severe Symptoms Were Also Noted
“Patients who were more severely ill during their hospital stay had more severe impaired pulmonary diffusion capacities and abnormal chest imaging manifestations, and are the main target population for intervention of long-term recovery,” report the authors.
RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When We’d Be Back to “Normal”
What to Do If You Think You Have Long COVID
If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms mentioned here, that does not mean you have had COVID or are immune to COVID. But it might signal that you had COVID and are suffering from Post-COVID Syndrome, aka Long COVID. Call a medical professional and let them know. And meanwhile, follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, 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.