My Covid Story

Jun 22, 2022

While COVID-19 symptoms may pass quickly for some people, millions of others face lingering symptoms called long COVID, PASC (Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2) or post-COVID syndrome.

Long COVID can affect anyone – children and adults, otherwise healthy people and those with other health conditions. It’s been seen in those who’ve been hospitalized and those with very mild symptoms.

As of July 2021, long COVID has been classified as a disability under the federal Americans and Disability Act, but there are still many questions about the condition.

As researchers continue to try to piece together the mysteries surrounding long COVID, Bethany Bruzzi, DO, chief medical officer at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, answered questions about what we know, including symptoms and treatment.

What is long COVID?

“An individual with long COVID has symptoms that persist, relapse or reoccur for more than 30 days after first being infected by the COVID-19 virus following recovery from the initial illness,” Dr. Bruzzi said.

Studies show 25% to 30% of people who recover from COVID-19 will deal with lingering symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

Why do people experience long COVID differently?

A challenging part of long COVID is that symptoms, and how severe they are, can vary widely from person to person.

“Because the COVID-19 virus affects all organ systems, so many different symptoms can arise both during the initial infection and as a long COVID infection,” Dr. Bruzzi said. “How your immune system is disrupted can also vary between individuals. Having a history of chronic illness may make one organ system more susceptible than another.”

Are some people more susceptible to long COVID than others?

Anyone who has had COVID-19 can get long COVID, regardless of their age or prior health conditions. However, a recent study suggested that older adults, women, those with a history of asthma and those with particular immune markers (proteins in our body that determine how well we can fight harmful infections) were more likely to experience long COVID.

“However, research continues in this area,” Dr. Bruzzi said. “Although the immune system is certainly an area of focus for investigators at this time, there are no current recommendations for blood tests that would help determine an immune system connection, and specific immune markers would not be used to confirm a long COVID diagnosis.”