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Post-COVID Conditions

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus recover and return to their normal lives within weeks. However, some people experience new or ongoing symptoms that can last for weeks, months, or years. A wide range of new health problems with ongoing symptoms can develop up to four or more weeks after being infected with COVID-19. Post-COVID conditions are called many names including: long COVID, long-term COVID, chronic COVID, or long-hauler COVID.

Who Can Experience Post-COVID Conditions?

Anyone that had COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions. This includes children, young adults, healthy and active individuals, and those with mild symptoms to no symptoms.
Some people that are more likely to experience post-COVID conditions include:

  • People who did not get a COVID-19 vaccine and became infected with SARS-CoV-2
  • People who experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) during or after their COVID-19 illness
  • Some people affected by health inequities, including people from racial or ethnic minority groups
  • People with disabilities
  • Older adults
  • People with underlying health conditions
  • People who were very sick or hospitilizaed when they had COVID-19
Symptoms of Post-COVID Conditions

The symptoms and severity of post-COVID conditions differ from person to person. Some of these symptoms are hard to explain and manage. The most common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering things ("brain fog")
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss or change of smell or taste
  • Dizziness on standing
  • Fast beating or pounding heart
  • Symptoms may get worse after physical or mental work

Living with Post-COVID Conditions

Some individuals who experienced a more severe COVID-19 illness may develop new health conditions including diabetes, heart conditions, neurologic conditions, and autoimmune conditions. Individuals can also experience multi-organ effects that can damage the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, or brain.
(COVID-19: Post-COVID Conditions)

Post-COVID effects can keep individuals from doing their usual daily activites. There are no blood tests to diagnose post-COVID conditions. They may not be detected by medical tests, x-rays, or electrocardiograms. Individuals with unexplained symptoms may be misunderstood by healthcare providers and may take a while to get a diagnosis. There is no proven treatment, so care is provided to improve the symptoms and quality of life.

Each individual copes differently with a long-term illness. People need different ways to manage stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.
Here are some steps that may help manage and cope with stress.

Support for People with Post-COVID Conditions

Individuals experiencing post-COVID conditions may need support from people around them. It may be a confusing and frustrating time for them, especially if a diagnosis has not yet been made. They may need to talk about their experiences and receive validation of what they are going through. It may be hard to determine what they need and how you can help, but ask directly if possible.

If you are not able to be with them in person, call, email, text, or whatever means to let them know you are there for support.

CDC's How Right Now campaign provides helpful tools for navigating conversations about the type of support someone with post-COVID conditions may need.

Studies are continuing to increase the understanding of post-COVID conditions. Multiple approaches are being made to determine who may be at risk, how many are currently experiencing conditions, the limits or restrictions people experience in their daily activities, how variants could affect symptoms, and how to better manage/treat the conditions.
Caring for People with Post-COVID Conditions
Patient Tips: Healthcare Provider Appointments for Post-COVID Conditions
ACL Resources for People with Long Covid


The best way to prevent post-COVID conditions is to stay protected from infection. Practice the prevention strategies of being up-to-date with vaccinations, wearing a mask when recommended, improving ventilation, getting tested if needed, and if you are positive, seek treatment if you are at a high risk of getting sick.
How to Protect Yourself and Others

Wisconsin COVID Care Facilities: Online Support Groups: