Post-COVID conditions (Long COVID)
Last updated December 9, 2022 at 12:28 PM
Some people who get COVID-19 may continue to have symptoms for weeks or months. Learn what resources are available if you are not recovering from COVID-19.
On this page:
- About long COVID
- Where to get care for a post-COVID condition
- Planning for your appointment
- Tools for recovery
- Support groups for post-COVID conditions
- Long COVID disability benefits
- Long COVID questions & answers
- More helpful resources
About long COVID
Many people with COVID-19 get better within weeks, but some people have symptoms that last for months. This can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if the initial illness was mild. This is known as a post-COVID condition, or simply as “long COVID.” Since July 2021, long COVID has been recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
People of any age can develop long COVID, but research suggests it is more common in adults than in children.
Where to get care for a post-COVID condition
If you think you have a post-COVID condition, talk to your doctor. If you have insurance, you can call the number on your insurance card to get help with making an appointment.
You can also make an appointment with an outpatient clinic specializing in post-COVID care. Some clinics offer virtual programs that allow you to talk to a doctor without leaving your home.
Planning for your appointment
Make sure you have everything you need for your appointment, whether you are seeing a doctor in person or online. Download the CDC’s Checklist for Post-COVID Conditions.
Tools for recovery
For some patients, home exercises help with recovery. Ask your doctor about exercises that can help with common COVID-19 side effects. For some people with post-COVID conditions, too much exercise can make their symptoms worse, so it is important to take things slowly.
See Bouncing Back From COVID-19: Your Guide to Restoring Movement from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Support groups for post-COVID conditions
People with long COVID may benefit from support groups. Visit the following websites for more information. You may be asked to fill out a form to verify that you are a real person in need of support.
- Body Politic
- Long COVID Kids provides free support services for families and children with long COVID
Long COVID disability benefits
People who are unable to work due to long COVID symptoms may be eligible for disability benefits. To qualify as a disability, it must greatly limit one or more major life activities. An evaluation is needed to determine if your condition can be considered a disability.
If your illness meets the definition of a disability, you can apply for disability benefits online.
If long COVID affects your ability to work, you may be able to ask your employer for accommodations to help you do your job. Visit the US Department of Labor website for more information.
Long COVID questions & answers
What are the symptoms of long COVID?
Common symptoms of long COVID include:
- Difficulty focusing (“brain fog”)
- Muscle pain
- Change in smell or taste
- Difficulty sleeping
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities
This is not a complete list. Many other symptoms have been reported.
How many people get long COVID?
The exact number of people who get long COVID after a COVID-19 infection is not clear. Research suggests long COVID may affect 10-25% of people who have had COVID-19.
Who is at risk of getting a post-COVID condition?
Anyone who has had COVID-19 can get a post-COVID condition, even if their initial illness was mild. Post-COVID conditions seem to be more common in adults than children. They also may be more common in people who are older, are overweight, or have other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
When should you see a doctor for a post-COVID condition?
See a doctor if you have a fever over 100.4F, if you cannot take care of your symptoms at home, or if you are not recovering from COVID-19. You should talk to a doctor if your symptoms make your daily life harder. For example, if you can’t focus, sleep, or do your normal activities.
Is there a test for long COVID?
There is no one test that can diagnose long COVID. Because many symptoms of long COVID are the same as other diseases, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out other illnesses.
How can I prevent long COVID?
The best way to prevent long COVID is to prevent COVID-19 in the first place. You can prevent COVID-19 by:
- Getting vaccinated & boosted. Evidence shows that being vaccinated against COVID-19 lowers the risk of long COVID.
- Wearing a face mask when cases are on the rise, and in medium and high community levels.
- Socializing outdoors when possible. When gathering inside, ventilate well. Open doors and windows, run HVAC systems, and install high-quality air filters.