ST. LOUIS — We’re learning more about what’s called long COVID-19, when people report debilitating symptoms lasting weeks or even months.
Although more than a billion dollars is being spent on research, some people say it’s still hard to convince doctors their symptoms are real.
Consumer Reports followed one woman’s long COVID journey, which could help you or anyone you know who suffers from it find relief.
There are tens of millions of people affected by long COVID, according to recent estimates. And although there’s no test for it, the Centers for Disease Control now recognizes it as an emerging condition and has released guidance for doctors to help treat patients.
Tell your doctor about your symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, difficulty breathing, or stomach problems. They may refer you to a specialist. For example, if you have heart palpitations, they may suggest you see a cardiologist.
Also, look for a long COVID clinic at a hospital or university, and seek out support groups. Survivor Corps, Body Politic, and Long COVID Alliance can help connect you with providers as well as people who are experiencing the same thing.
If your daily activities are substantially limited, you can try applying for disability benefits, which may offer some protections, like a leave of absence from your job.
And make sure your doctor knows the diagnostic code for long COVID, which is U09.9. That way, your insurance plan may be more likely to cover related costs.
Keep in mind that getting vaccinated and boosted may minimize the risk of long COVID by reducing your chances of getting sick in the first place. Consumer Reports says make sure you stay up-to-date on your shots.