Post-COVID-QA Post-COVID Conditions (Long COVID) Questions & Answers

Post-COVID Conditions (Long COVID) Questions & Answers

If you are living with a post-COVID condition or are having symptoms of post-COVID conditions, please also see our page: Resources for People with Post-COVID conditions (Long COVID) for important links to assist you in getting care and resources. 

 

 

What are post-COVID conditions?186What are post-COVID conditions?<p>​<a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Post-COVID conditions</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> are a range of new, returning, or lingering symptoms that usually happen weeks to months after having COVID-19. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">While most people with COVID-19 recover in a few days or weeks, some people may experience ongoing symptoms, commonly known as long COVID.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">People may experience one or a combination of symptoms in different parts of the body, such as the lungs, heart, nerves, and brain.  Post-COVID symptoms may go away on their own, but people should see a healthcare provider if their symptoms are not going away. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Adults and children of any age can have post-COVID conditions, including people who had COVID-19 with mild or no symptoms.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">People with post-COVID conditions no longer have the live or infectious coronavirus in their body, usually test negative for COVID-19, and are not contagious anymore.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div>
What are the symptoms of post-COVID conditions? 187What are the symptoms of post-COVID conditions? <p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US" style="background-color:#ffffff;">Common symptoms may include any combination of*:</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}" style="background-color:#ffffff;"> </span></p><div class="SCXW22908629 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-color:#ffffff;"><div><ul><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Tiredness or fatigue</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (also known as post-exertional malaise)</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as "brain fog")</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Stomach pain</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Headache</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Muscle pain</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Pins-and-needles feeling</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Diarrhea</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Sleep problems</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Cough</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Fever</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Rash</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Mood changes</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Change in smell or taste</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Changes in menstrual period cycles</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li></ul></div></div><div class="SCXW22908629 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-color:#ffffff;"><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">*Symptoms are not limited to this list; many other symptoms have been reported.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div></div>
What causes post-COVID conditions?188What causes post-COVID conditions?<p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">The cause(s) of post-COVID conditions is still unknown. Research is ongoing to understand what causes post-COVID conditions. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Existing studies suggest that there are various viral factors, immune system responses, and risk factors that may lead to post-Covid conditions. There</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> is some evidence that some people with long COVID may have conditions similar to </span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Myalgic</span><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink"> encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> or </span><a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/postural-orthostatic-tachycardia-syndrome-pots" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span><br></p>
How many people develop post-COVID conditions?189How many people develop post-COVID conditions?<p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">The exact number of people who develop a post-COVID condition after infection is still unknown. Research is ongoing to understand how many people are affected. Some estimates suggest that 10-25% of people who had COVID may develop a post-COVID condition.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span><br></p>
Who is at risk for developing post-COVID conditions? 190Who is at risk for developing post-COVID conditions? <p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">People of any age (children, teens, or adults) can get post-COVID conditions after having COVID-19. People who had mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19 illness can develop post-COVID conditions</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">People who are older, obese, female, or who have underlying health conditions (co-morbidities) like Type 2 Diabetes or asthma, may have </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">higher risks</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> of developing post-COVID conditions.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted health disparities and led to a disproportionately high number of COVID-19 cases in certain communities, especially low-income communities and certain communities of color. This means that groups who are lower income or of certain racial/ethnic groups have had a higher number of cases than what would be expected based on their population size. Social determinants of health, such as lower income, less access to health care, and more crowded housing, can increase the risk of COVID-19 and post-COVID conditions.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Additional research is needed to understand who is at higher risk of developing post-COVID conditions.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div>
When should people seek care for post-COVID conditions? 191When should people seek care for post-COVID conditions? <p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Seek medical care for post-COVID conditions if you have a fever over 100.4 F, if you cannot take care of your symptoms at home, and/or if you are not recovering from your initial COVID-19 illness. In general, it's important to talk to a medical provider when your symptoms make your daily life harder, for example, if you can't focus, sleep, or do your normal activities. Since many symptoms of post-COVID conditions are like symptoms of other diseases, it is also important to see a medical provider to rule out other illnesses. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":1,"335559739":160,"335559740":360}"> </span><br></p>
Is there a diagnostic test for post-COVID conditions? 192Is there a diagnostic test for post-COVID conditions? <p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">No, there is no specific test to diagnose post-COVID conditions yet. However, a health care provider can diagnose you after asking about your symptoms, examining you, and ruling out other conditions.</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span><br></p>
What treatments are available for post-COVID conditions?193What treatments are available for post-COVID conditions?<p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Medical providers will first rule out other medical conditions that could be causing symptoms. They might also run tests to understand which organs are affected such as the brain, nervous system, heart, or lungs. You may be referred to a specialist. Your medical provider may recommend treatments for your symptoms. </span></p><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">For example:</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p><div><div><ul><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Breathing exercises and respiratory therapy can help the lungs recover.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Physical and occupational therapy can help patients get strong enough to return to their daily activities and work. Pacing yourself and not overdoing it is also important.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Counseling or psychotherapy can help patients and loved ones with the mental and emotional effects of COVID-19 and post-COVID conditions.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li></ul></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">See the "Tools for recovery and rehabilitation" section on the <a href="/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Post-COVID-Conditions-Resources.aspx">Resources for People with post-COVID Conditions (Long COVID)</a> webpage for more information. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div></div>
How can I prevent post-COVID conditions?194How can I prevent post-COVID conditions?<p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">The best way to prevent post-COVID conditions is to prevent COVID-19 infection in the first place. You can prevent COVID-19 by:</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p><div><ul><li><p><a href="https://www.vaccinateall58.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Getting vaccinated & boosted</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">There is evidence that vaccinated people who get COVID-19 have a lower chance of getting post-COVID conditions.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Wearing face masks. Read our </span><a href="/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Face-Coverings-QA.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">face coverings Q&A</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Staying home and getting tested if you're sick, even if you're fully vaccinated. Read our </span><a href="/Programs/OPA/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Toolkits/testing_ca/testing_handout.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">testing fact sheet</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> (PDF).</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Ventilating indoor spaces and socializing outdoors when possible. Read our </span><a href="/Programs/OPA/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Toolkits/Tips-for-Reducing-COVID-Risk-Indoors.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">ventilation fact sheet</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> (PDF).</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li><li><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Sign Up for </span><a href="https://canotify.ca.gov/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">CA Notify</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, California's COVID-19 smartphone exposure notification system so that you can take appropriate actions if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233279":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></li></ul></div><div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Learn more about </span><a href="/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Translations/Infographic_protect_against_covid19.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">protecting yourself and your family from COVID-19</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> (PDF).</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div></div>
Is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS) a post-COVID condition?195Is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS) a post-COVID condition?<p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Yes, MIS is a condition that can happen after COVID-19. Symptoms of MIS can involve multiple organ systems. L</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">earn more about </span><a href="/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/MIS-C.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> and </span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mis/mis-a.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults (MIS-A)</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span><br></p>
Is there research being done on post-COVID conditions? 196Is there research being done on post-COVID conditions? <p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Yes, researchers are currently studying post-COVID conditions. One large study, called </span><a href="https://recovercovid.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">RECOVER (Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery)</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> was launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to better understand post-COVID conditions. You can learn more about the trial, including how you can join, at </span><a href="https://recovercovid.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">the RECOVER webpage</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. You can also learn about other studies for people who have had COVID-19 on the </span><a href="https://www.niaid.nih.gov/clinical-trials/covid-19-clinical-trials" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">NIH Clinical Trials webpage.</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (</span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">CDC</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">) is also partnering with states and other institutions to research long-term effects of COVID-19.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">CDPH is studying post-COVID conditions in Californians through research and partnerships with academic institutions. For example, CDPH is partnering with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on the CDC-sponsored, national Innovative Support for Patients with SARS CoV-2 Infection Registry (INSPIRE) study. This study uses an online platform to enroll people 18 years or older after they test positive for COVID-19 and sends surveys over time to learn about the long-term effects of COVID-19. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p><p><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}">CDPH is also launching a web-based survey to better understand Long COVID in California. You may receive an email or phone call about this survey and your participation is strongly encouraged<br></span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">CDPH is also creating educational and communication materials for the public on post-COVID conditions, find them here: </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink"></span></span><a href="/Programs/OPA/Pages/Communications-Toolkits/long-covid.aspx"><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}">CDPH | Long COVID Communications Toolkit </span></a></p></div>
Can I qualify for disability benefits at work if I have a post-COVID condition? 197Can I qualify for disability benefits at work if I have a post-COVID condition? <p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Yes, post-COVID conditions </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">can qualify as a disability under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557 if they are substantially limiting one or more major life activities. Physical and mental impairments from post-COVID conditions may be considered disability. An individual assessment is necessary in each case. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}"> </span></p><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Talk with your employer or Human Resources department about work accommodations and read additional information about applying for disability benefits:</span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink"></span></span><a href="https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/civil-rights-covid19/guidance-long-covid-disability/index.html"><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}">Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section | HHS.gov  </span></a></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink"></span></span><a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/topics/coronavirus-covid-19-long-covid"><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}">Coronavirus Resources | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)  </span></a></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink"></span></span><a href="https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/"><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}">Apply Online for Disability Benefits (ssa.gov)  </span></a></p></div>
Can students receive disability accommodations at school?198Can students receive disability accommodations at school?<p>​<span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Students with a post-COVID condition may be eligible for educational accommodations under the</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> Accommodations could include more time for taking tests for a student who has difficulty concentrating or more time for assignments for a student with fatigue. Talk to the appropriate school official about accommodations to make learning more manageable. There may be a form your healthcare provider can fill out. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}"> </span></p><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">For more information and resources, see </span><a href="https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/ocr-factsheet-504-20210726.pdf?utm_content&utm_medium=email&utm_name&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Long COVID Under Section 504 and IDEA | Office for Civil Rights, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services </span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Parents can also get help at Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI) from the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) funded by the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S Department of Education. Find your Parent Center listed alphabetically by state or U.S. Territory, visit </span><a href="https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Find Your Center | ParentCenterHub.org</span></span></a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"134233117":true,"134233118":true,"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":240}"> </span></p></div>

Originally published on February 25, 2022