Facts about Long COVID
- Long COVID is not COVID-19 — it is the longer-term effects some people experience after COVID-19 infection.
- Symptoms of long COVID can be quite different from those experienced during the initial infection with COVID-19.
- Symptoms of long COVID condition are diverse and can be both physical and psychological.
- Long COVID may occur in some people weeks or months after their initial infection with COVID-19.
- Long COVID can occur in people who had no symptoms or only moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
Possible Symptoms of Long COVID
Research is ongoing into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of long COVID. There is currently no universally agreed-upon approach to diagnose and treat post COVID-19 condition. More than 100 different symptoms or difficulties have been associated with long COVID.
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Tiredness after exertion and/or poor endurance
- Impaired daily function and mobility
- Menstrual cycle irregularities
- Insomnia and other sleep difficulties
- “Brain fog,” loss of concentration, memory issues
- “Pins and needles” and/or numbness
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle pain
Psychological or psychiatric symptoms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
- Skin rashes
The Canadian Lung Association and Long COVID
The Canadian Lung Association is calling on the federal government to create a national strategy for long COVID, including substantial investments in research, a national long COVID registry and support for interdisciplinary rehabilitation clinics across the country.
In April 2022, we submitted a recommendation to the federal Standing Committee on Health regarding long COVID. We recommended that the government identify a plan for research funding to ‘invest in the study of the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, including of long COVID on different groups, notably vulnerable populations and children’ as noted within government mandate letters.
Along with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institutes of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and Gender and Health and the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Alberta, the Canadian Lung Association offered a research grant competition to fund research into the respiratory health effects of long COVID.
Each of the following researchers was awarded a $40,000 operating grant:
Dr. Jordan Guenette, University of British Columbia, “Cardiopulmonary exercise testing and functional imaging determinants of dyspnea post-COVID-19”
Dr. Robert Kozak, University of Toronto, "Host gene expression signatures from clinically banked upper respiratory tract swabs associate in situ altered mucosal immunity with development of long COVID-19”
Dr. Simon Rousseau, McGill University, “Immunopathology of respiratory distress in long COVID”
Dr. Alyson Wong, University of British Columbia, “Identifying long COVID phenotypes and their association with long-term quality of life”
Long COVID Resources
The following links will take you to sites external to the Canadian Lung Association. Inclusion in this list does not constitute endorsement, and the Canadian Lung Association is not responsible for content of third-party sites.
Post COVID-19 condition (long COVID) (Health Canada)
Report on Long COVID Impact Survey (COVID Long Haulers Support Group Canada, and Neurological Health Charities Canada)
Long COVID: What is it and what can I do about it? (Dr. Samir Gupta)
Post COVID-19 Condition: Guidance for Primary Care (Ontario Health)
Post-COVID Recovery Care (Provincial Health Services Authority, BC)
Care Models for Post COVID: A Rapid Systematic Review (SPOR Evidence Alliance, COVID-END Network)
COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19 (NICE, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network and the Royal College of General Practitioners)
Interim Guidance on Evaluating and Caring for Patients with Post-COVID Conditions (Center for Disease Control)