COVID-19 has presented more than its fair share of anomalies since it arrived in the United States last year. While there are common symptoms and guidelines outlined for the illness, reports of lingering symptoms have sparked an investigation into individuals’ post-COVID-19 journeys.
The amount of time the COVID-19 virus lives in your system is unique to each patient and usually correlates with the severity of symptoms. While many patients can expect to experience symptoms with the virus that last no longer than 10 days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, “A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days that may warrant extending duration of isolation and precautions for up to 20 days after symptom onset.”
Recent studies have shown long-term consequences of the novel coronavirus don’t necessarily stop there. Beyond this period, individuals deemed “COVID-19 long haulers” have experienced symptoms that may linger for up to six months.
A cohort study found fatigue or muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping and anxiety or depression were the most common symptoms still troubling survivors six months after acute infection. Patients who were hospitalized with more serve symptoms of COVID-19 experienced greater pulmonary complications at the six-month mark. Shortness of breath is another common lingering symptom, which was often persistent in both groups after six months.
Although it’s considered a milder side effect, many individuals with COVID-19 experience loss of taste and smell, which often remained post-viral period. Many experienced ageusia (complete loss of taste) and anosmia (complete loss of smell) for eight days on average, with 90 percent of COVID-19 patients beginning to notice their sense of smell improving within four weeks of infection.
Emerging research and information continues to provide new answers and questions daily, and while evidence suggests COVID-19 symptoms will last anywhere from three days to six months, it’s unknown if all groups should expect to fully recover from the long-term effects of this virus.
If you’re experiencing lingering side effects due to COVID-19, contact your health care provider with new or worsening symptoms. If you don’t have a provider, call 918-579-DOCS (3627) or go to uticaparkclinic.com/physicians.