Tell Your Physician If You Have Long COVID Symptoms, Officials Advise

People should talk to their physicians if they have symptoms of long COVID, officials advise.

“Yes, if you are experiencing long COVID symptoms you absolutely should talk to your physician,” said Dr. Earl Stoddard, Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, before the county council this week. He said there is increasing interest within the medical community in trying to identify those with long COVID.

County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Dr. Raymond Crowel said he has asked DHHS to collect research around long COVID to develop tools people can use to understand if they have it and county healthcare and behavioral health professionals can use to assess patients.

“Some of the symptoms of depression might overlap with something like long COVID,” Crowel said. “So we want to make sure we get it right and make sure that people understand that this may not be something that is endemic to their cognitive functioning but maybe something that is residual of a disease.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advises people to talk to their doctor if they think they or their child may have long COVID. According to the CDC, some who had COVID-19 can experience long-term effects, called “post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID.” Symptoms can last more than four weeks and even months after infection. 

Common symptoms include fatigue that interferes with daily life, difficulty breathing, cough and “brain fog,” among others.

For some, long COVID can result in a disability, per the CDC. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), long COVID can be considered a disability as of July 2021.

Councilmember Craig Rice said he would be curious as to whether or not those with pre-existing conditions may be more susceptible to more serious long COVID.

“That kind of thing would also be incredibly important as we invest so much in our BIPOC health initiatives to start having those conversations with so many of our community members who we know were at risk for COVID itself and may now be at risk for some of those long COVID symptoms, and maybe trying to track some of that as well,” Rice said.

Per the CDC, research suggests those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a breakthrough case are less likely to have post-COVID conditions compared to unvaccinated individuals.

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