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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.

Respiratory symtoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Breathlessness
  • Cough

Cardiovascular symptoms

  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Rapid heart rate

Generalized symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Tiredness after exertion and/or poor endurance
  • Impaired daily function and mobility
  • Fever
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities

Neurological symptoms

  • Insomnia and other sleep difficulties
  • “Brain fog,” loss of concentration, memory issues
  • Headache
  • “Pins and needles” and/or numbness
  • Dizziness

Gastrointestinal symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomitting

Musculoskeletal symptoms

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle pain

Psychological or psychiatric symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sensory symptoms

  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell

Dermatological symptoms

  • Skin rashes

Funding research

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”

Dr Alyson Wong receiving research grant for long COVID research