Dealing with lingering symptoms of COVID-19?

March 08, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

This blog was originally posted in 2021. Some information may be out of date. For the latest updates on vaccines, testing, screening, visitor policy and post-COVID support, visit

Most people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 recover within a few weeks without any lingering ill effects.

There is a group, unofficially known as “long-haulers,” who experience lingering health problems after they recover from the coronavirus infection.

For some, the symptoms can be life-altering. Researchers have found that about one-third of people who recover from COVID-19 had lingering symptoms three weeks after they first became ill, and that 50 to 80 percent of people experience symptoms three months later, even after fighting off the virus.

Who becomes a long-hauler is unpredictable, as many people who experience long-term symptoms had mild or moderate cases of COVID-19.

In general, the long-term effects of COVID-19 can vary. The most common lingering symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain

Some people have reported other long-term symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty with thinking and concentration (sometimes called “brain fog”)
  • Depression
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Intermittent fever
  • Heart palpitations

While COVID-19 first affects lung function, some people have reported serious lingering symptoms that affect other body organs, including:

  • Cardiovascular: inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Respiratory: lung function abnormalities
  • Renal: acute kidney injury
  • Dermatologic: rash, hair loss
  • Neurological: smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty concentrating, memory problems
  • Psychiatric: depression, anxiety, mood changes

Some people with pre-existing dental conditions reported gum sensitivity and even losing teeth after they recovered from COVID-19.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear why the symptoms remain after recovery from a COVID-19 infection, and it’s too early to know how long they’ll linger.

In the meantime, healthcare providers are doing their best to treat the symptoms and support long-haulers in their recovery.

The best way to manage the symptoms is to check in with your primary care physician regularly and track your symptoms. If needed, seek emergency care.

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 infection by wearing masks, staying at least 6 feet away from others, washing your hands often, avoiding social gatherings and getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is offered to you.

Do you have lingering COVID symptoms? While most individuals with COVID-19 get better within a few weeks, some experience lingering symptoms after the infection has cleared. Edward-Elmhurst Medical Group’s neurology experts may be able to help ease your symptoms. Learn more about post-COVID neuro care.

Edward-Elmhurst Health now has COVID-19 vaccine appointments available to anyone in our communities age 12 and older. It is easy to schedule a vaccine appointment. You no longer need a MyChart account. Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine now.

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, anxiety or another mental health challenge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health has therapists who can help. Call 630-305-5027 for a free behavioral health assessment.

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers screening options for COVID-19. Eleanor, your personal virtual assistant, can help you check your symptoms 24/7 and advise you on what to do next. We also offer Video Visits and E-Visits for COVID-19 symptoms. 

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

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