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Long COVID: Quick Facts

  • 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

Musculoskeletal symptoms

  • Joint pain and stiffness

  • Muscle pain

Psychological or psychiatric symptoms

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sensory symptoms

  • Lost of taste and/or smell

Dermatological symptoms

  • Skin rashes

The Canadian Lung Association and Long COVID

Advocacy

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.

Read the full document here

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”

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.