'Long COVID' is more common but vaccination lowers risk, research shows

Covid Lungs
Posted at 10:08 PM, Sep 18, 2023

AURORA, Colo. — New studies show "Long COVID" is more common but vaccination lowers your risk.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study published in August found one in 10 adults who are infected with COVID-19 experienced long-term effects from their infection, known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions (PCC).

The UCHealth Post-COVID Clinic has treated about 2,000 Long COVID patients since its launch in 2020.

“We've learned a lot over the last three years, and I think we've learned that Long COVID is not just one entity. It can present in many different ways,” said Dr. Sarah Jolley, director of the UCHealth Post-COVID Clinic.

Long COVID is typically identified at least four weeks after infection, according to the CDC. Those with Long COVID have a wide variety of symptoms, but can include brain fog, cough, shortness of breath, cardiac issues and life-limiting fatigue.

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Long COVID treatment requires hospitals to use many tools in the toolbox.

“As a result, we expanded our clinic to be multidisciplinary in nature, and includes physicians from pulmonary medicine, cardiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, integrative medicine, to really meet the whole system needs of the patients,” Jolley said.

UCHealth is part of a National Institutes of Heatlh (NIH) study that aims to define Long COVID symptoms.

“There are a subset of patients that can have very severe symptoms that can limit their ability to do the things they enjoy, limit their ability to go back to work, do their job as usual. And then some patients can recover quicker and get back to doing what they enjoy,” Jolley said.

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Doctors not only have a better understanding of Long COVID but are looking forward to better treatments.

“We are just starting clinical trials locally. And there are a number of different therapeutics — both medications and non-pharmacotherapy — that are being tried for patients with Long COVID,” Jolley said.

Viral respiratory season is set to ramp up in the coming weeks and already, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is projecting this year will be a repeat of last.

While health officials still don’t know what this season is going to look like, the CDC is projecting that the triple threat of COVID-19, flu and RSV could place a significant strain on the nation’s healthcare system during the colder months.

Health officials are urging people to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine, as well as flu and RSV vaccines. Click here to see who should get which vaccine and when.

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