For healthcare professionals navigating the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of Long COVID, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), has added another layer of complexity. Recognizing its signs and symptoms is critical for timely intervention and optimal patient care. Here’s a guide to identifying Long COVID in patients:
Key Point: Symptoms persisting beyond 12 weeks after initial COVID-19 infection, which cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis, may indicate Long COVID.
Look for: Persistent cough, shortness of breath, or chest tightness.
Look for: Heart palpitations, chest pain, or symptoms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
Look for: Complaints of “brain fog”, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, or persistent headaches.
Look for: Persistent joint pain, muscle aches, or weakness.
Look for: Diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, or appetite changes.
Look for: Reports of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, or irritability.
Given the wide range of symptoms, it’s essential to rule out other possible conditions:
Recognizing Long COVID in patients requires a comprehensive approach, a high index of suspicion, and the understanding that its manifestations can be incredibly diverse. As with many syndromes, a holistic patient-centered approach, coupled with evidence-based practice, will offer the best outcomes for those navigating the long shadows of COVID-19.
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