Long Covid - What You Need to Know

May 17, 2022

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

To be honest still talking about COVID-19 is getting very tiring. I have pandemic fatigue and am not overly excited to start 4th COVID-19 vaccinations for our senior population. Most people are tired too. However, COVID-19 is still here. You likely know something who has it right now, and the US is back to reporting up to 200 000 new infections per day. Some reports are the number is likely 10 times that amount (2 million/day) because we are not testing or testing at home.

As we learn more about COVID-19 we are also learning more about long COVID. Long COVID is essentially symptoms that persist chronically past the infection stage for four weeks or more. Most people with COVID-19 recover completely within a few weeks, however there are what we call "long haulers" which is also called post-COVID-19 syndrome.

We are learning anyone of any age or health status can get long COVID -19, although those with serious or chronic health conditions are more likely to have lingering symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic reports common signs and symptoms that linger over time include:


-Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


-Joint pain

-Chest pain

-Memory, concentration, or sleep problems

-Muscle pain or headache

-Fast or pounding heartbeat

-Loss of smell or taste

-Depression or anxiety


-Dizziness when you stand

-Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities

-Organ damage caused by COVID-19

While we commonly think of COVID-19 as a respiratory illness and worry about lung damage, it can affect the heart, kidneys, and brain. It appears to cause some type of inflammation response in the tissue. We see an increased risk of blood clots, and many are convinced it is responsible for liver problems in children. Lasting health effects may include asthma-like breathing problems, heart issues or stoke and decreased kidney function.

How COVID affects the brain is something we need to learn better. Almost 75% of those with persisting symptoms are reported to have cognitive and neurological symptoms such as brain fog. It can slow down your processing speed, memory, and recall, impacting a person's ability to perform daily tasks. Long COVID can also lead to neuroinflammation, micro hemorrhages, signs of lack of oxygen, and cell death. All of this shows similarities to a brain injury, such as a concussion or even stroke.

Research is also showing long COVID-19 sufferers will become more common as well if variants continue to circulate and reinfection occurs. The US Government accountability office reports up to 7% of the US population already has some type of long COVID-19 symptoms. Your chance of getting long COVID-19 is about 5% each time you end up with a case. Up to 1 billion people worldwide may end up with it in the next three years, so this is something we need to keep on our radar.

This whole pandemic has put us into a large amount of uncertainty. Research is still ongoing, and society is slowing learning how to live with COVID-19. We are starting to see advanced care available for those who are "long haulers", and support groups are starting to pop-up as well. While most do recover quickly from COVID-19 medical experts agree you should still take precautions like wearing a well fitted mask in indoor spaces. Social distancing and avoiding crowds are still recommended. Being vaccinated appears to reduce the risk of getting long COVID symptoms by about 50%. It also reduces your risk of getting a severe case and ending up admitted into a hospital. Proper hand hygiene is still important as well. Some scientists are also suggesting we may get a symptomatic COVID-19 infection multiple times per year. If long COVID remains a risk of these infections, we are going to need to learn to live with the precautions as well.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional.


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