The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has determined that Long COVID (or Long Haul COVID, Post Acute COVID syndrome, Chronic COVID) is a diagnosis given to patients who continue to experience symptoms after a four week acute infectious phase. Anyone infected with the virus is at risk for Long COVID conditions, however, there are factors such as underlying health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease, and severity of infection that increase this risk.
There is no specific test that determines if symptoms are due to COVID exposure and many diagnostic results may come back normal, despite ongoing symptoms. Diagnosis is difficult as well due to these non-specific symptoms that patients can experience such as fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and palpitations. It has been challenging to estimate the prevalence of this condition with estimates ranging from 5-30% in the US population.
Other general symptoms that patients experience include cough, chest pain, menstrual irregularities and erectile dysfunction have been reported to researchers. Post-exertional malaise (symptoms that get worse after normal physical and mental effort) is a commonly reported symptom as well. These symptoms can be similar to those of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which makes the official Long COVID diagnosis a challenge to use.
Unfortunately, treatment options are limited at this time. Recommendations for supportive care are offered to patients to include Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and lifestyle considerations.
The good news is that acupuncture is an excellent, non-invasive and non-pharmacological method of treating these symptoms despite the diagnosis.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, consider contacting an acupuncturist who can design a treatment plan specifically for your symptoms.
Coastal Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine in Berlin, Maryland is a trusted practice and our Dr. Salmond has had great success treating patients with Long COVID.