from San Diego County COVID-19 Center
After COVID-19 illness, some people have had returning illnesses, recurring health problems, or a range of new symptoms four or more weeks after having the COVID-19 infection. This is referred to as post-COVID conditions, long COVID, or other names. Also, people with these conditions are sometimes called “long-haulers.” As of July 2021, “long COVID” is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Anyone who had COVID-19 can develop post-COVID conditions, including people who had COVID-19 with no symptoms or very mild symptoms. It can happen to people in any age group.
On this page, you will find symptoms of post-COVID conditions, ways to prevent them, and available resources.
Symptoms of Post-COVID Conditions
Symptoms of post-COVID conditions can differ dramatically from person-to-person, but may include one or more of the following:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (also known as post-exertional malaise)
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
- Chest or stomach pain
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
- Joint or muscle pain
- Pins-and-needles feeling
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)
- Mood changes, anxiety, depression
- Change in sense of smell or taste
- Changes in menstrual period cycles
If you are experiencingsymptoms of long COVID, please first contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider and would like to get connected to one, call 2-1-1. If you have serious symptoms, like difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1.
Prevention of Post-COVID Conditions
The best way to prevent long COVID is by taking precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 infection. This includes getting the primary COVID-19 vaccine series, additional dose (if immunocompromised) and booster dose; wearing a face mask that has good fit and filtration, like an N95, KF94, or KN95; and keeping distance from others, who are not household members.
Information and Resources
- For information about long COVID, please read San Diego County’s handout What You Need to Know About Long COVID (Spanish).
- Learn more about long COVID by reading the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Long COVID Questions and Answers or listening to the stories of others with the Long COVID Communications Toolkit.
- More information can be found on the CDC webpage Post-COVID Conditions | CDC and on the CDPH webpage Post-COVID Conditions (Long COVID) (ca.gov).
Advocacy and Support Groups:
- Survivor Corps: Survivor Corps
- Long-COVID Alliance: Home — Long-COVID Alliance (longcovidalliance.org)
- Body Politic: Support Group — Body Politic (wearebodypolitic.com)
- Long COVID Kids: Long COVID Kids | Registered Charity | Post COVID Syndrome
Employees and Employers:
- Coronavirus Resources | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)
- Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557 | HHS.gov
- What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov)