COVID-19 has wreaked havoc for more than a year. Unfortunately, scientists believe it will remain with us for years to come. One reason has to do with post-COVID recovery.
10 percent of people who come down with COVID-19 experience prolonged symptoms. Applied to the United States, that’s more than three million people.
What are the symptoms people experience after COVID recovery? What exactly is long COVID? How can you examine your health after COVID, and what can you do to cope with your symptoms?
Answer these questions and you can make your post-COVID recovery a lot easier. Here is your quick guide.
Symptoms After COVID Recovery
Most people recover from their cases of COVID within three weeks. Some cases may take longer, even if they don’t involve hospitalization.
Some people may complete their recovery and show no symptoms for weeks or months. They then may show signs of an illness. Others may remain sick with their old symptoms or develop new ones.
The most common post-COVID symptom is fatigue. A person may feel exhausted after resting or sleeping. They may become unable to perform tasks like walking without feeling winded.
Shortness of breath is another common symptom. A person may have difficulty breathing, especially after they engage in exercise. They may be able to take shallow breaths, but they cannot hold air in their lungs.
Pain can present as chest tightness after COVID recovery. The tightness may appear in both sides of the chest, or it may radiate into another part of the body. It can present alongside a headache, muscle pain, or joint pain.
Symptoms may be psychological as well. A person may feel “brain fog,” being unable to concentrate or think. In rare cases, they may suffer from depression or anxiety.
The Basics of Long COVID
The CDC calls long COVID “post-COVID conditions.” They define these conditions as health problems that a person experiences more than four weeks after infection.
They do not define long COVID by a set of symptoms. They suggest that it can include fatigue, pain, and brain fog. But the CDC recognizes that post-COVID conditions can vary significantly from person to person.
Someone who had mild COVID symptoms can develop long-term ones. Young people can also experience long COVID.
Most people with COVID do not experience long-term symptoms. Doctors do not know why certain people do.
A March 2021 journal article provides some initial speculations. The virus may cause inflammation that sparks pain and discomfort. It may also damage organs like the lungs and heart.
How to Determine Post-COVID Complications
There is no test that diagnoses long COVID. If you have fatigue and chest pain after recovering from COVID, you should get help.
Doctors can run a series of tests to determine the extent of your symptoms. An IgG antibody test determines your immune response to COVID. If you have low antibodies, you may need to get help with your immune system.
Complete blood count (CBC) tests are similar. They examine your different blood cells to see how your cardiovascular health is doing. Your doctor can also determine your glucose and blood pressure levels by drawing some blood.
To investigate your neurological health, doctors can look at your eye movements. Struggling to focus on something may be a sign of a problem in your brain.
If you have chest pain, you can receive a chest X-ray. You can speak to a psychiatrist if you have anxiety or depression. They can give you a formal diagnosis within a day.
Keep in mind that post-COVID complications may not come from COVID. You may have an underlying condition that triggers your symptoms. Submit to all tests that your doctor asks for and be open to the results.
How to Cope
There is no cure for long COVID at this stage. Vaccines may help diminish some symptoms, especially the Moderna vaccine. If you have not gotten vaccinated, you should do so.
You may hear about cures for your symptoms. Do not take them unless you get your doctor’s consent.
Do not follow the news. Many articles say that cures have been found, but this is almost always misleading. Touch base with your doctor or a medical professional if you want the facts.
It may be difficult to experience pain or anxiety when others are not. Do not compare your health to others. Focus on your well-being and get resources for yourself.
You can improve your heart, lung, and brain capacity. Try to engage in a little exercise. Going out for a walk will get your heart beating without putting too much stress on you.
Engage in some deep breathing. Fill your lungs to capacity, swelling your abdomen and chest out. Then release, allowing your body to deflate completely.
Regular exercise and dieting can help you remain mentally sharp. Eat full meals with grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Challenge your brain, even when you feel exhausted. Play games like chess and poker that encourage focus and strategic thinking. Read a book or make some art to facilitate your creativity and storytelling skills.
Get Help for Your Post-COVID Recovery
COVID can creep through the body. A person may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. These symptoms can occur weeks after infection.
Long COVID varies from person to person. There are no known causes for it.
If you have long-term symptoms, you should go to your doctor. They can examine your health through a variety of tests.
You can make a post-COVID recovery. Focus on your well-being and improve it through diet and exercise.
You don’t need to be on your own. Exceptional Living Centers provides support to people with long COVID. Contact us today.