How To Know If You Have Short, Medium, Or Long COVID

As the COVID pandemic has continued, more and more people have tested positive for the virus. When the focus was once solely on hospitalizations and deaths, it is becoming more common to hear about people suffering from "long COVID." This refers to people who continue to exhibit health concerns long after testing positive for the virus, even if they now have officially recovered (via American Medical Association). Long COVID lasts more than four weeks. Some people with this condition finally begin to feel normal after a month or two while others may still be dealing with symptoms with no end in sight.

But long COVID isn't the only long-term effect that this virus can have. Many people have experienced what experts call "medium COVID," or health concerns that clear up in less than four weeks but last longer than a typical virus affects people (via WebMD). While it is good news that these health concerns don't stick around for too long, it can greatly affect someone's life to deal with things like brain fog and fatigue for weeks after testing negative for COVID. Short COVID refers to people who experience COVID symptoms for a short amount of time (less than two weeks) that follow the path of most viruses (via Johns Hopkins Medicine).

What to know about long COVID

While COVID symptoms last less than two weeks for most people, there are those who experience symptoms for months after testing negative for the virus (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). Anyone can experience long COVID, regardless of their age or how severe their experience with the virus was. There is still a lot of mystery around what causes long COVID and who is more susceptible to this health concern.

The most common symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, joint pain, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Other conditions that are being reported include depression, headache, muscle pain, cognitive problems, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty concentrating. "We're seeing a spectrum of symptoms after acute COVID-19, some of which would be expected after other critical illnesses," said ​​Emily Brigham, MD, MPH. "Some are minor, but other people may need continuing care and even readmission to the hospital." Doctors can treat long COVID by treating individual symptoms. While there is no definitive way to prevent long COVID, you can reduce your risk of getting COVID in the first place by getting vaccinated and practicing good hygiene.