We’ve become used to headlines about COVID-19 dominating the daily news. Vaccines have proven very effective in reducing the virus’s ability to hospitalize or kill. But that doesn’t mean the pandemic is no longer serious. Experts are still learning about COVID symptoms, particularly those that can lead to long-term effects. These are Delta symptoms some officials have frankly called disturbing. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
At the Alzheimer’s Association Internation Conference in late July, researchers presented evidence of a link between COVID-19 and long-lasting cognitive problems and acceleration of Alzheimer’s. In some older people who’ve had COVID, doctors have found increased biological markers of brain injury and inflammation, along with lower blood oxygen levels. “These new data point to disturbing trends showing COVID-19 infections leading to lasting cognitive impairment and even Alzheimer’s symptoms,” said Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations. “It is imperative that we continue to study what this virus is doing to our bodies and brains.”
Some people who contract COVID develop symptoms that don’t go away, a situation Fauci has called “very disturbing.”
“The SARS-CoV-2 virus can attack many different parts of our bodies, and unfortunately some infections lead to long-term illness known as long COVID,” says Dr. Gwen Murphy, Ph.D., MPH, director of epidemiology for Let’sGetChecked. “For these people, symptoms can last for weeks or months and can affect most, if not all, body systems, including heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions.”
“Long COVID is another reason for all of us to get vaccinated and to encourage our friends and family to do the same,” she adds.
Some good news: A new study published in The Lancet this week reports that people who contract “breakthrough” COVID infections after being fully vaccinated are twice as likely to have no symptoms at all, compared to people who are unvaccinated.
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Coughing and shortness of breath are frequently reported symptoms of COVID-19. But if you’re having serious difficulty breathing, that’s a sign you need immediate medical attention, experts say. The CDC advises that you call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency center and say you need care for someone who may have COVID-19.
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Another potential emergency symptom is persistent pain or pressure in the chest. “Seek help immediately if you are experiencing difficulty breathing or chest pain,” says Dr. Murphy.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you or someone you know with COVID are experiencing new confusion or an inability to wake up or stay awake, you should seek medical help immediately. Those symptoms might indicate that COVID has caused inflammation in the brain.
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Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.