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Pinedale Online > News > October 2021 > What is ‘long COVID’?

Long COVID. Photo by World Health Organization.
What is ‘long COVID’?
by Pinedale Online!
October 31, 2021

A number of people have reported what they refer to as longer than normal lingering effects after having had COVID-19. Some of these effects are lasting four to six months after having had the infection. These symptoms include extreme tiredness or fatigue, brain fog/cognitive impairment/memory issues, reduced exercise capacity, blurred vision/vision issues, dry cough, chest tightness/pain or heaviness, fever, palpitations, vertigo or tinnitus, headache, altered smell/taste, metallic or bitter taste, skin rash, joint pain or swelling, shortness of breath, raspy throat, abdominal pain, menstrual and period problems, anxiety, depression, dizziness, intermittent fever, joint pain, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea/constipation/acid reflux), new onset allergies, pins and needles sensations, sleep disorders, and other complaints. Some have termed this lingering set of symptoms "long COVID."

The World Health Organization recently published a definition of these long-term symptoms in a document entitled, "A clinical case definition of post COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus." (dated October 6, 2021)

The report reads in part, "A proportion of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience long-term symptoms. Definitions of this emerging condition vary, leading to complexities in advancing research and clinical policy development. Over the course of the pandemic, various terminology including long COVID, long-haul COVID or the WHO-recommended post COVID-19 condition have been proposed. Still, a globally standardized clinical case definition of this condition remains lacking. Aim: We aimed to determine the most important domains and variables for inclusion into a globally relevant and standardized clinical case definition for post COVID-19 condition."

"Most patients who suffer from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) fully recover, but some remain with long-term effects on several body systems, including pulmonary, cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as psychological effects. These effects appear to occur irrespective of the initial severity of infection, but occur more frequently in women, middle age, and in those with more symptoms initially."

Here is the definition they came up:
"Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction but also others which generally have an impact on everyday functioning. Symptoms may be new onset, following initial recovery from an acute COVID-19 episode, or persist from the initial illness. Symptoms may also fluctuate or relapse over time."

The WHO report states, "most patients with COVID-19 return to baseline after acute infection with SARS-CoV-2, but a proportion report ongoing health issues. How many people are affected with longer term sequelae after acute COVID-19 remains unknown, but published reports indicate that approximately 10–20% of COVID-19 patients experience lingering symptoms for weeks to months following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection."

Click on this link to read the full WHO report: A clinical case definition of post COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus World Health Organization, October 6, 2021

Pinedale Online > News > October 2021 > What is ‘long COVID’?

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