I’ve Had COVID-19, Now What?

I’ve Had COVID-19, Now What?

Whether you’ve had a mild case of COVID-19 or were sick for a long time, you may wonder what’s next.  Once you’re feeling better and trying to get back to your normal routine, you may still have health questions.

Here are some common ones.

Should I Still Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Yes, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)   “Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again,” the CDC says. But if you were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days. Talk to your doctor about the timing.

How Long Can I Spread it to Others?

The CDC leaving site icon says:

This is a new virus, so we are still learning about it. Based on what we know so far, if you didn’t have a bad case, you can be around others after:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and
  • 24 hours with no fever (without using fever-reducing meds), and
  • Other signs of COVID-19 are getting better. (Loss of taste and smell may last for weeks or months. But that doesn’t mean you need to isolate.) ​

If you have a badly weakened immune system, talk to your doctor before being around others. Most people do not need testing to decide when they can be around others. If your doctor advises testing, they will let you know based on test results.

Q: Can I Get COVID-19 again?

Experts say you’re not in the clear just because you’ve already had the virus, says the Cleveland Clinic  If you’re not vaccinated, you may be at an even higher risk of getting sick again.

Q: Can I Give Blood?

The American Red Cross leaving site icon says you may be able to help others. Patients who have fully recovered may have antibodies in their blood plasma that may help people with bad COVID-19 infections.

Q: Am I More Likely to Have Other Health Problems?

Because COVID-19 hasn’t been around long, it’s hard to know for sure.

The American Heart Association leaving site icon says some people have symptoms that continue after COVID.  Examples are:

  • heart palpitations
  • chest pain
  • breathing problems
  • fevers that come back
  • long lasting fatigue
  • mental fog

Older people and people with many serious health problems are the most likely to have lingering issues, says Mayo Clinic. leaving site icon Common ones are cough, headache and joint pain. Although COVID-19 is seen as a disease that mostly affects the lungs, it can harm many other organs. That can cause long-term health problems.

If you’re worried about how you’re feeling, think about checking in with your doctor.

Sources: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination  When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19,   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021 Can You Get COVID-19 More Than Once?   Cleveland Clinic, 2021; What to know about the Coronavirus and Blood Donation  American Red Cross, 2021;  Months after infection, many COVID-19 patients can't shake illness  American Heart Association, 2020; COVID-19 (coronavirus): Long-term effects  Mayo Clinic, 2021.

Originally published 9/15/2020; Revised 2021