About Post-COVID Conditions (Long COVID)

Most people who get COVID-19 usually develop a minor sickness and get better within a few weeks. For reasons that are still not well understood, some people do not get better and can experience health problems that do not go away known as post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID. At least 4 weeks after becoming sick with COVID-19, people with long COVID experience signs, symptoms, and conditions that may be new, come back, or do not disappear.

People call post-COVID conditions by many names, including:

  • Long COVID
  • Long-haul COVID
  • Post-acute COVID-19
  • Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC)
  • Long-term effects of COVID

The number of people living with long COVID is unknown. Long COVID can affect people in different ways. Some people with Long COVID have mild symptoms that go away after a few months. Others may have more serious symptoms and be unable to do their usual daily activities. As of July 2021, long COVID and post-COVID conditions can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Learn more about long COVID from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions

Who can get Long COVID

Long COVID can affect anyone who has been sick with the virus that causes COVID-19, including those with a minor sickness or no symptoms. However, some people may be more likely to get seriously sick:

  • People who have experienced more serious COVID-19 illness, especially those who were hospitalized or needed intensive care
  • People who had underlying health conditions before COVID-19
  • People who did not get a COVID-19 vaccine or are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines*
  • People from racial or ethnic minority groups due to health inequities

Children and young adults may also be more susceptible to a very rare, but serious post-COVID condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

*The CDC recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines: Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters


In general, COVID-19 can affect many different body organs and cause symptoms that either go away and come back or last for many months or even years. Occasionally, even new symptoms can start. People with long COVID experience a variety of symptoms, but the following are the most common:

General symptoms

  • Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as “post-exertional malaise”)
  • Fever

Respiratory and heart symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)

Neurological symptoms

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness)
  • Pins-and-needles feelings
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety

Digestive symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain

Other symptoms

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Changes in menstrual cycle

People with it may develop or continue to experience symptoms that are very hard to explain, deal with and treat correctly. Some people may find that their long COVID symptoms improve over time. We are not yet sure if long COVID symptoms could be permanent or irreversible in some people.

What is HCPH Doing

Long COVID surveillance helps Harris County Public Health in determining where, when, and how the disease spreads. This also allows HCPH to figure out the number of community members who have long COVID.

HCPH would like to hear from community members who have Long COVID. Everyone's experience is important for us to understand.

Please report your COVID-19 experience using the following link: COVID-19 Portal