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How long COVID affects the body

How long COVID affects the body


Some people who had COVID-19 experience symptoms that recur or persist 4 or more weeks after the initial infection. This is called long COVID or post-COVID conditions. Long COVID has a wide range of symptoms that can affect one or more body systems. Common symptoms of long COVID include whole-body symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, and worsening symptoms after physical or mental effort. Long COVID can also affect the muscles and joints, digestion, kidneys and reproductive organs, heart and blood vessels, lungs, nervous system, and mental health.

COVID-19 is a new disease, so no one knows exactly what the outlook will be for people with post-COVID symptoms. Research is ongoing into how to help people with long COVID overcome the condition.

Review Date 2/22/2023

Updated by: Frank D. Brodkey, MD, FCCM, Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.