I think I have long COVID. What does that mean?
‘Long-COVID’ is a condition with symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue, and ‘brain fog’ along with an additional wide array of debilitating problems in the heart, brain, lungs, gut, and other organs. It is a mysterious and awful sequela of COVID-19 with immediate, short-term, and long-term implications and there is no universal agreement on how to define and diagnose it. This ambiguity is baffling many people to wrongly think they have ‘Long-COVID’ without having it and many real cases think they don’t have it.
Several questions surrounding when COVID-19 becomes long COVID and the most common key symptoms are being widely discussed. While the majority of ‘Long-COVID’ cases have fatigue and shortness of breath, others have trouble thinking or concentrating, a pounding heart, and joint or muscle aches as well. Despite being highly important to know when the acute COVID ends and long COVID starts, there is a huge disagreement among different agencies: CDC states its clock for ‘Long-COVID’ at four weeks post-infection, while the WHO says it to be closer to 12 weeks. It gets even more complicated when NIH enrolled subjects in its ‘Long-COVID’ study defining “post-acute” as starting 30 days after infection for children without defining it for adults.