VA is on the front lines caring for Veterans and non-Veterans with a patient-centered holistic approach. This includes caring for patients with Long COVID. Here is vital information on signs and symptoms.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, tell your VA health care provider.

What is Long COVID?

Some people can have ongoing or new symptoms after having COVID-19 that do not go away or get worse over time. If you have new or worsening symptoms 4-12 weeks after having COVID-19, you may be experiencing Long COVID.

Man with a headacheWho can get Long COVID?

Anyone who has had COVID-19 can develop Long COVID, no matter how mild or severe their symptoms were. At this time, it’s estimated that 4-7% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 will develop Long COVID.

My friend was diagnosed with Long COVID, but their symptoms are totally different than mine. How can that be?

Long COVID affects everyone differently, as we all have different medical histories. Because of that, not everyone with Long COVID will have the same symptoms.

I am a Veteran and I think I may have Long COVID. What do I do?

If you believe you have Long COVID, contact your care team today for an appointment.

How can I avoid getting Long COVID?

Unfortunately, the only way to avoid developing Long COVID is to not get sick with COVID-19. The best ways to prevent getting sick with COVID-19 are vaccination and masking.

What is VA doing about Long COVID?

VA health care providers will use a Whole Health approach to caring for Veterans with Long COVID. Whole Health focuses on what is most important to the Veteran, and uses all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health professionals, and disciplines working together to create a health plan that meets the needs of each individual Veteran. This way, Veterans can take charge of their health and well-being.

Long COVID symptom checker

This is not a complete list of symptoms, and you may have more than one. If you have any of these symptoms, use this list to tell your clinician or care team, on your next visit.

  • Altered sense of taste and/or smell
    • No sense of taste or smell
    • Tastes or smells “wrong”
  • Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
    • Struggling to complete tasks you used to have no trouble doing, like playing with your kids, cleaning the house, cooking dinner
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activity
    • Going for a walk
    • Doing a crossword puzzle
  • Respiratory symptoms
    • Ongoing cough
    • Trouble catching your breath
  • Cardiac symptoms
    • Heart racing, skipping beats
    • Chest pain
    • Palpitations
    • Lightheadedness
    • Dizziness
    • Falling
  • Neurologic symptoms
    • Brain fog
    • Trouble remembering or focusing
    • Memory problems
    • Headaches
    • Blurry vision
  • Mental health
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Feeling more stress
    • Trouble sleeping
  • Digestive symptoms
    • Abdominal pain
    • Constipation

If you have any additional new symptoms, share them with your clinician.

By Hans Petersen

VHA NEWS editor and Air Force Veteran

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Published on Sep. 21, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 10,231

13 Comments

  1. Lorry Sorgman September 24, 2022 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    My exhaustion level is so bad at times that getting dressed is a problem. I can no longer cook long meals and must opt for quick frozen dinners or take out. I suffer from dizzyness at times and realize it is all part of the exhaustion. Now, when I get so tired I have to go back and lie down. My breathing is also affected. If I walk from one part of my house to another (my house is 1,056 square feet); I’m exhausted and have trouble breathing so I have to sit down an regroup. This did not happen before Covid. This was my second bout. I got it in May and I got it late June.

  2. Sean Collins September 23, 2022 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing. Great info.

  3. Nancy Harjo September 23, 2022 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    I have long Covid but not a veteran. I worked as a prison guard I have COPD and I’ve never smoked.

  4. Jim Fraley September 23, 2022 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the article. Good information. I think a lot of the problem with the “system” is being able to talk with someone in real time. I tested positive after being exposed and called my local clinic only to have to leave a voice mail. The answering machine message stated that I should only call once as leaving more than one message just slows down the system. As the day went on and my symptoms were becoming worse, I called the Nurse Line and was routed to a central appointment receptionist who transferred me back to the local clinic. I next called the Nurse Line again and asked to speak to a real person. The nurse was very understanding and took down all my information, placing it in my record. She also called and left a message with the local clinic nurse who did call me back. By this time, it was 15 minutes before closing time and she said she would have to discuss my request for a Paxlovid prescription with the provider and would get back to me. She did return my call the next morning and I was finally able to get the medication by mid day. I feel the inability to speak with someone when I first called resulted in a delay of care for over 24 hours. My only other option was to go to the closest emergency room which is over 30 minutes away and seems a waste of ER expertise just to write a prescription for a Federally Authorized drug.

  5. H. Firestone September 23, 2022 at 8:54 am - Reply

    I have 12 symptoms got a chest x-ray excellent. I have recurring UTI infectious disease isb trying manage outside the VA , expect an 83 year old to jump to office 60 mile RT or Orlando 80 miles one way!! vision ruined1 wife 70 is only driver and care giver. I’m from the govt. here to help you —not1

  6. Buck Nakede September 23, 2022 at 2:45 am - Reply

    I’m a little tea pot , short and stout . Here is my handle,va health can suck my spout . Caught covid bad and called va took a while to find some one to hear what I say . Sounded so sick they said , go away . I would never be allowed there
    I told them my job wants to know you got my back . Told me I was on my own , till I knew it was a fact . Wanted any one near me to screw me . I was looking for help and protection . A lot of veterans are exceptions . 4 Q . All of you .

    • Angel September 23, 2022 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      That about sums it up huh? They proceeded to tell me that I’ve never been seen at my local VA clinic that I’ve been to multiple times and treated like a piece of sht every time I went there.

  7. Beth Blackford September 22, 2022 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this article. I think it’s going to be very difficult for some of us to recognize that our ongoing symptoms are actually Long Covid, and not something else altogether. The more checklists and updates you can provide, the better!
    My personal experience has been pretty straightforward: spouse (also a veteran) & I have been vaccinated as soon as possible with each booster, stay abreast of local Covid rates in our community, and take masking & sanitation precautions when in crowded situations like grocery stores and airports. When a family member (father) was released from hospital after 5 days for an unrelated problem (kidney stone), all 3 of us tested positive for Covid within 72 hours. Spouse & I were prescribed Covid-ameliorating drugs (Paxlovid, Lagevrio) while father continued home-administered antibiotic. All 3 of us recovered within 5 days and do not appear to have any lingering symptoms.

  8. Jacques September 22, 2022 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I had the virus covid-19 for a week before I ended up in hospital for a week and after being released from hospital it was another 2-3 weeks before I started feeling any better. My primary doctor told me I was this close to bitting the bullet. I’m diabetic type 2 doing better with my sugar levels instead of being between 300-600 I’m actually now between 130-250 still not the best but a lot better. My A1c’s were high 14’s but now low 7’s. I still have breathing problems at times I can’t get my full breath, I forget more then the usual forgetfulness I forget as soon as I’m told something or as soon as I read something I forget saying as I’m saying something I forget going to work I forget to go home from work I forget where my neighborhood store is and as I’m driving I forget where I’m going (I don’t drive anymore). I forget to tell my doctor about these symptoms I’m writing now hopefully I can remember to copy this. I can’t taste or smell, my legs hurt to the touch what is wrong with me? I’m constantly tired and dizzy and lite headedness and brain foggy I realized it is actually really foggy

  9. Chris Perreira September 21, 2022 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    They (VA) doesn’t care.

    • Jeff September 22, 2022 at 5:39 pm - Reply

      The VA doesn’t care. When I got Covid I contacted my PPP, he didn’t return my call or do anything. The Nurse did call me and asked me what I expected them to do.

  10. Fredrick Michael Ciccione September 21, 2022 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I have responded to something like this before and have not heard back. I believe I asked for help or more info.

    • George D September 22, 2022 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Do you mean you asked HERE? I doubt anyone from VA even reads these! Call your Primary Care team.

      [Editor: I read and approve every comment that publishes. It’s how this space remains spam free. Your last sentence is correct–as the story suggests one to do.]

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