Addressing Long COVID

October 10, 2022
Long COVID

Sometimes, people who get COVID-19 experience long-term effects from their infection. This does not mean they are still contagious, but it may mean they are faced with some health challenges that can make daily activities — like work and leisure activities — difficult. This can be frustrating.

While we are still learning about long COVID, there are programs that can help address those health challenges, including Middlesex Health’s Post-COVID Rehabilitation Program. 

How do you know if you have long COVID?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people who have COVID-19 feel better within a few days to a few weeks after their infection. It says post-COVID conditions can first be identified at least four weeks after infection and that anyone can experience post-COVID conditions — even someone who had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all during their illness. 

The CDC says there is a wide range of post-COVID, or long COVID, symptoms, including, but not limited to: 

  • Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Difficult thinking or concentrating (brain fog)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rash

To date, studies have shown that some groups of people may be affected more by post-COVID conditions. This includes those who experienced a more severe COVID-19 illness, especially those who were hospitalized; those who had underlying health conditions prior to COVID-19; those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and individuals who experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome during or after a COVID-19 illness. 

What is the best way to prevent long COVID?

The CDC says the best way to prevent long COVID is to protect yourself and others from becoming infected with COVID-19 in the first place and to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated, and staying up-to-date on your booster shots, can help prevent a COVID-19 infection, protect against severe illness and lower your risk of getting long COVID.  

Middlesex Health does administer COVID-19 vaccines, including booster shots, in its primary care offices. To make an appointment, click here

How Middlesex can help

Middlesex Health’s physical, occupational and speech therapists can help those who experience long COVID symptoms through its Post-COVID Rehabilitation Program. This multidisciplinary team creates individualized treatment plans to ensure that individual concerns are being addressed.

Treatment options could include everything from endurance training and cognitive treatment to customized exercise programs and pulmonary education. 

Additional resources are also available through this program, including behavioral health services and nutritional counseling. 

For more information about Middlesex’s Post-COVID Rehabilitation Program, click here

In addition, Middlesex Health’s Center for Integrative Medicine has helped several long COVID patients through acupuncture, particularly those who experienced fatigue, altered taste, loss of smell, and cognitive dysfunction (brain fog). 

Acupuncture is a form of integrative medicine, and it involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. It is offered both in Middletown and Westbrook. For more information about acupuncture and other forms of integrative medicine, click here

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