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What is long COVID?

Health care workers answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Shaquita Bell, MD talks about the longer-term effects of COVID that some people are experiencing.

It is one of those things that we’re still learning a lot about. I mean, it’s in the name right? Long haul COVID and while the last 18 months certainly seems like a long haul for all of us, what we think of long haul coronavirus infection is people who continue to test positive weeks and months afterwards, who continue to have symptoms for weeks and months afterwards. And the hard part about the coronavirus infection is while we can make some commonalities, like it’s an infection that’s spread through airborne processes, that it infects your lungs, that it oftentimes gives you body aches all over and a fever and a cough. What we can’t say is that you’re going to have this symptom and you’re going to have that symptom and you’re going to have this symptom.

So, there’s a lot of what we call nonspecific symptoms. So, people having memory loss or headaches, we have people who have upset stomach and no appetite for weeks and months. Those symptoms are what we’re seeing in folks who have long haul COVID. And basically, the best way I think about it is people just don’t feel healthy. They don’t feel back to themselves. They feel like their body is still fighting something. And we haven’t really figured out why some, some people continue to have symptoms of the coronavirus infection and test positive. It’s one more reason why I really strongly recommend the vaccine because while it is true that you can live and actually do okay with the coronavirus, there are a lot of people who don’t. There are a lot of people who die and there are a lot of people who have long-term consequences of having this infection.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decisions. Click here for vaccine FAQs from the CDC.

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