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.

How Long Can I Spread it to Others?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   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?

Harvard Medical School   says this is not fully understood.

Some studies show that COVID-19 antibody levels stay in the blood for two to three months after infection. It appears “the immune system would be ready to react quickly and strongly if re-exposed to the COVID-19 virus.” The current science shows you are less likely to get reinfected within three months of a prior infection. And that the level of immunity people build after recovery does not depend on the how sick they were.

But it’s not clear how well the immune response will protect against a new infection. And no one knows how long it might last.

Q: Can I Give Blood?

The American Red Cross   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   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 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: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19,   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020; If you've been exposed to the coronavirus,   Harvard Medical School, 2020; What to know about the Coronavirus and Blood Donation  American Red Cross, 2020;  Months after infection, many COVID-19 patients can't shake illness,   American Heart Association, 2020; COVID-19 (coronavirus): Long-term effects,   Mayo Clinic, 2020.</h6
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