What to do if you think that you or a loved one has Long Covid
Common first complaints
Check out the page “What is Long Covid?”
• Severe exhaustion
• Shortness of breath
• Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
• Heart palpitations
• Body pain
• Body tingling (pins and needles)
• Red eyes
• General sense of being “unwell”
It is challenging to know when your child is struggling to fully recover after Covid-19. Symptoms can be hard to describe. They can fluctuate from day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month.
When can it be diagnosed?
According to the CDC, Long Covid can be diagnosed after 4 (four) weeks of illness. Post viral illness can develop with both mild and severe covid infections. Many who develop Long Covid had a mild infection.
Approaching your Doctor
If you are concerned that you, your child, or a loved one has developed Long Covid, the first place to start is at your primary care provider or pediatrician.
Many providers are not familiar with post-viral illness, so we recommend showing up prepared for the conversation.
Bring along resources
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, have a section of their website that is dedicated to guidance for Long Covid care.
We recommend printing the following pages to take to your appointments.
1. Patient History and Physical Exam >
2. Your Symptom Journal >
3. Assessment and Testing >
4. Management of Post-COVID Conditions >
Common Post-Covid Conditions
“Patients with post-COVID conditions may share some of the symptoms that occur in patients who experience myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, dysautonomia, and mast cell activation syndrome. “
“Symptom management approaches that have been helpful for these disorders may also benefit some patients with post-COVID conditions (e.g., activity management (pacing) for post-exertional malaise).”
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
BEWARE OF POST EXERTIONAL MALAISE (PEM)
(a worsening of symptoms after actives)
While the majority of illnesses can benefit from exercise therapy, many with post-viral illness experience a WORSENING of their condition which is known as PEM, or Post Exertional Malaise.
Rehab strategies for Long Covid should be developed by professionals who have experience working with this patient group and are up-to-date on the recommendations for rest and pacing.
Patients and their caregivers need to be cautious when approaching an exercise routine, especially one that involves cardio or a gradual increase.
“More than 3 decades of trying exercise in this population [post-viral illness] can be summed up in one sentence:
Exercise can be harmful, sometimes life threatening, and should be avoided.“
– The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy
It can be difficult to find a doctor who is up-to-date on the latest research regarding Long Covid and Post Viral Illness. Though we suggest you start with your pediatrician, other specialists who may be helpful are:
• Covid Clinics
• Infectious Disease & Immunologists
CDC Guidelines for Post-Covid Care
The CDC has guidelines for ruling out other diseases and conditions. We recommend you print these out or send them to your doctor for your appointment.
After underlying causes are ruled out, management is typically based on symptoms. Please see our page on managing symptoms.