DEFINITION: Post-COVID Conditions
Long or post-covid occurs in people previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and can lead to long-term effects from their infection, known as post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID.
People call post-COVID conditions by many names, including long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, and post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection (PASC), long-term effects of COVID, and chronic COVID.
About Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions
Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that people experience after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks after infection, so at least four weeks after the infection is most likely that medical professionals could identify post-COVID conditions. Any individual can be infected and can experience post-COVID conditions. Most people with post-COVID conditions experienced symptoms days after their SARS CoV-2 infection when they knew they had COVID-19; some people with post-COVID conditions did not notice when they first had an infection.
There is no test to diagnose post-COVID conditions, and people may have various symptoms that could come from other health problems. Your healthcare provider can consider a diagnosis of post-COVID conditions based on your health history, including if you had a diagnosis of COVID-19 either by a positive test or by symptoms or exposure, as well as doing a health examination.
- Post-COVID conditions can include a wide range of ongoing health problems; these conditions can last weeks, months, or years.
- Post-COVID conditions are found more often in people with severe COVID-19 illness. Still, anyone infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions, even people with a mild illness or no symptoms from COVID-19.
- People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and become infected may also be at higher risk of developing post-COVID conditions than those immunized with breakthrough infections.
- While most people with post-COVID conditions have evidence of infection or COVID-19 illness, in some cases, a person with post-COVID conditions may not have tested positive for the virus or known they were infected.