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How common is long COVID-19?
Dec. 13, 2021—Many people with COVID-19 get better within a week or more. But for others, symptoms can last much longer. Symptoms that linger or return for four or more weeks after a COVID-19 infection are considered long COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is still a lot to learn about long COVID-19. But it may be more common than expected.
A recent review in JAMA Network Open looked at 57 studies involving more than 250,000 people who had COVID-19 to see what symptoms they experienced. The review found that 54% had symptoms six or more months after first contracting COVID-19.
Long-term symptoms of COVID-19
Experts are working to learn more about what causes long COVID-19 and who is likely to have it. For now, we know that long-term symptoms of COVID-19 can affect both children and adults. According to CDC, you can experience long COVID-19 symptoms even you didn't have COVID-19 symptoms when you were first infected or if your illness was mild.
Some of the most common symptoms of long COVID-19 include:
- A feeling of pins and needles.
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating, known as brain fog.
- Chest or stomach pain.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Dizziness when standing.
- Feeling tired.
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Shortness of breath.
If you or a loved one experience long COVID-19 symptoms, don't just live with them. Let your doctor know.
You can take steps to stay healthy
The best way to prevent long-term COVID-19 symptoms is to avoid getting the coronavirus. To protect yourself:
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you're around others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid crowds or indoor spaces with poor ventilation.