Managing Your Long-Haul COVID-19 Symptoms
From Sharon Krispinsky, RN, BSN, CDCES, a Chronic Health Program Coordinator for Lee Health
Approximately 27-33% of patients with COVID-19 become what is called “COVID long haulers.”
Long-haul symptoms typically occur four weeks or more after recovering from the virus. Interestingly, studies show that the severity of COVID-19 does not predict who will develop long-haul symptoms.
Fatigue and shortness of breath are the two most common symptoms. However, patients may also experience chest pain, cough, abdominal pain, difficulty thinking or concentrating, headache, heart palpitations, joint and muscle pain, difficulty with sleep, diarrhea, fever, pins and needles feeling, lightheadedness, rash, changes in mood, change in smell or taste, and change in period cycles.
If you think that you are experiencing long-haul symptoms, the first thing to do is to see your primary care provider for a thorough assessment and treatment recommendations.
When diagnosed with long-haul symptoms, you will likely be overwhelmed with information and possible treatments. It’s time to get empowered and face your condition head-on. The good news? You can learn the knowledge and skills to assist in managing your symptoms.
Think about developing an action plan. This allows you to identify a short-term goal – one you can easily reach during the coming week. If you can tackle and enhance just one aspect of life and health, you can then easily tackle and enhance a second one.
Some of the things you can think about right away are breathing techniques, healthier eating, physical activity and managing fatigue.
Lee Health Solutions has a complimentary community self-management education program that can help you take control of your symptoms and become healthier. The virtual workshop meets once a week for six weeks and teaches a variety of tools to self-manage your condition, including:
- Breathing techniques
- How to get a good night’s sleep
- Healthy eating
- Importance of physical activity
- Pain management
- Dealing with difficult emotions
The Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Program was originally developed at Stanford University and is taught worldwide. Call us at 239-424-3121 to join us for an upcoming workshop and put an action plan in place that works for your specific symptoms. We’re here for you, and we would be honored to help you on your healthcare journey.