So many patients have lingering symptoms after the SARS-CoV-2 virus has actually resolved that distinctive names have emerged: long-haul COVID-19, or post-COVID condition. Complaints can include those associated directly with the virus—eg, shortness of breath, body aches, fatigue—or an entirely new set that could include twitching muscles, racing heart, and various gastrointestinal problems. Be prepared to administer COVID-19 tests or antibody tests to rule out true infection. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some patients may even experience something akin to posttraumatic stress disorder and experience irrational fears that symptoms indicate ongoing or emerging new disease, thereby affecting daily quality of life beyond the physical symptoms. In those cases, referral to a mental health professional may be helpful. The CDC’s webpage post-COVID conditions may be a useful resource for providers and patients alike.
Be Prepared: Patients Can Be ‘Over’ COVID-19 But Not Over the Symptoms—for a Long Time