Céline Gounder, MD explains that long COVID describes severe COVID-19 symptoms that linger for months after infection.
Long COVID describes the symptoms people can have that can linger for months after having had a bout of COVID. That includes having breathing problems, problems with your heart or blood pressure, problems with your kidneys, and an increased risk of blood clots, just as an example. The term long COVID is really a catchall term for a number of what we think are multiple syndromes that result from that initial bout of COVID.
There is currently no specific treatment for a long COVID. The best we can do right now is really to treat the symptoms of long COVID. So, if you have difficulty breathing, it might be an inhaler. If you have issues with your blood pressure, it might be blood pressure medications. So we’re really treating the symptoms, not the underlying disease itself.
Vaccination does appear to reduce the risk of long COVID. By how much depends on which study you look at. And we don’t have a clear answer on how well it is protecting against long COVID. We do know that there is a reduction in risk if you are vaccinated.