Long COVID Information & Resources

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A COVID-19 infection can result in long lasting symptoms such as breathing difficulties, headache, loss of smell and taste, brain fog, and fatigue. These long lasting symptoms have been termed “long COVID-19” and can have an impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. It can also affect family, friends, and caregivers of people who had COVID-19.

Your recovery and rehabilitation (regaining your strength) after COVID-19 can be challenging, but there are resources available to help manage your symptoms and get help when needed. Please note that these resources are general, and may not be appropriate for everyone. For more personalized information, please contact your family physician or the other options listed below.

Who can you call for help?

Online resources for patients to help manage their own symptoms:

Are you looking for tips and techniques for eating well, even when you are tired? Join AHS' free virtual cooking demonstration called "Eating Well When Fatigued: Cooking Edition".

Are you interested in becoming a patient researcher?

  • The Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) program trains a cohort of citizens with lived experience of a common health condition, to plan and conduct patient-engaged health research.
  • This one year, part time program, will have a long COVID cohort beginning in January 2022. Please see the PaCER website for program details.
  • If you or someone you know is interested in being considered for this cohort, please contact Nicole McKenzie by November 30th, 2021.

If you are a health care provider, please visit the following sites for more information on managing long COVID:

A COVID-19 infection can result in long lasting symptoms such as breathing difficulties, headache, loss of smell and taste, brain fog, and fatigue. These long lasting symptoms have been termed “long COVID-19” and can have an impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. It can also affect family, friends, and caregivers of people who had COVID-19.

Your recovery and rehabilitation (regaining your strength) after COVID-19 can be challenging, but there are resources available to help manage your symptoms and get help when needed. Please note that these resources are general, and may not be appropriate for everyone. For more personalized information, please contact your family physician or the other options listed below.

Who can you call for help?

Online resources for patients to help manage their own symptoms:

Are you looking for tips and techniques for eating well, even when you are tired? Join AHS' free virtual cooking demonstration called "Eating Well When Fatigued: Cooking Edition".

Are you interested in becoming a patient researcher?

  • The Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) program trains a cohort of citizens with lived experience of a common health condition, to plan and conduct patient-engaged health research.
  • This one year, part time program, will have a long COVID cohort beginning in January 2022. Please see the PaCER website for program details.
  • If you or someone you know is interested in being considered for this cohort, please contact Nicole McKenzie by November 30th, 2021.

If you are a health care provider, please visit the following sites for more information on managing long COVID:

Questions

Do you have a question for one of our experts, such as an individual with lived experience with Long COVID, or a doctor, nurse, therapist (physiotherapist, occupational, respiratory), dietician, mental health professional? Please ask your question here and one of our experts will get back to you ASAP.

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    I am a long hauler was on life supports. I made it. Very lucky i u der stand there is testing at the u of a too see what it did too your body.

    Dolores De Rudder asked 5 days ago

    Hello,

    We are pleased to hear that you "made it" and hope that you are recovering well. If you are experiencing symptoms of long COVID, we encourage you to discuss a referral to one of the specialty long COVID clinics available in the province. There are also a number of self-management resources available online (which you can find links to on the Together4Health page). There are also excellent supports available through Health Link (8-1-1) or the Rehabilitation Advice Line (1-833-379-0563). If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1.

    If you are interested in research opportunities, you can search "COVID" on the bethecure.ca website. This is a joint website run by AHS, UofA and UofC that lists all the active academic research studies available in Alberta. There are studies looking at heart, lung or mental health outcomes as well as predictive biomarkers for COVID, but there may be others as well. Please note that typically, when participating in research, the data/findings may not be shared directly with you, so if you have questions about your personal health, it is best to work with your health care provider. 

    We hope this is helpful.

    Thank you.

    - The Long COVID Resources team

     

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    Hi, On October 2021, I contracted COVID with symptoms of sore throat, fatigue, loss of taste and shortness of breath. It took me 11 days to be 100% functional again. Just as I thought I was done with COVID, I experienced COVID-like symptoms again mid-December 2021. It started with shortness of breath, heavy chest feeling, and then started to experience an odd 'skipping heartbeat' sensation almost 50x everyday. I have visited urgent care and my family physician. They had suggested that what I may be experiencing are premature ventricular contractions or PVCs. The symptom seems to be on and off every couple weeks, and alternates with my breathlessness, to the point where I'm gasping for breath for hours at a time. Is anyone experiencing or have experienced something similar? Is there any chance that this goes away or will it be something I have to live with for the rest of my life? I am concerned for the health of my heart and lungs. Thanks, Mark

    mark.mempin asked 7 days ago

    Hi Mark,

    We are sorry to hear about all of the symptoms you continue to experience. As a resources team, we are not in a position to provide individual medical advice, but rather help identify resources and services that can. If this is an emergency, we encourage you to call 9-1-1, and if you are unable to see your family doctor in a timely manner, call Health Link at 8-1-1. The Rehabilitation Advice Line can provide a lot of personalized guidance about recovery from COVID-19 and they can be reached at 1-833-379-0563. There is also a Mental Health Advice line available. All of these are free of charge. Please know you are not alone! 

    You can also access a number of self-management resources online on the AHS website "Getting Healthy After COVID-19" and the "After COVID" site on MyHealth.AB.ca - both of which can be linked to from the Together4 Health Long COVID page on the right hand side. 

    When are you are able to see your family doctor again, you may wish to ask for a referral to a specialist (ex. Cardiology or Pulmonology/Respirology). Finally, there are Interprofessional Outpatient Programs in both Calgary and Edmonton (that are available to any Albertan with an appropriate referral. 

    We hope this information is helpful and that you start o feel better. 

    - The Long COVID Resources Team

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    My name is vince mcleod, currently living in Yellowknife , NT Canada. I been diagnosed with covid 19 back in oct 2021. Tough battle and im fully vaccinated. I'm currently still feeling fatigued , swollen neck and very over tired that I have bags under my eyes every day. Heart rate goes up because I'm over tired. Doctors here in NWT have no idea whats wrong. Can I get some help and some advice how to rehab myself? please thank you.

    vince1986 asked 9 days ago

    Hi Vince, thank you for reaching out to our team in Alberta. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a tough time with ongoing symptoms. Symptoms lasting for months after diagnosis might be the same or different than the initial illness and may affect people differently; this is known as “long COVID” or “Post COVID-19 Condition”. It’s still considered a ‘new’ condition and we are still learning about the cause of it and don’t have tests that can diagnosis it. Unfortunately that means that doctors may not recognize the cause of the symptoms. Generally though, we can use treatments that work for other conditions with similar symptoms.   

    Fatigue is a common but troubling symptom of long COVID, and can make it difficult to do your daily activities. Check out this link on managing your energy: Self-care: Managing your energy (alberta.ca). The tips on pacing can be helpful when dealing with fatigue.

    Your heart rate could be another symptom of long COVID. Things like a fast heartbeat, dizziness, weakness, or fatigue may be related to something called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia (POTS). It’s still worthwhile to talk to your doctor about whether that condition might be the cause. Breathing exercises can help with fatigue and lower your heart rate. You can learn more about breathing exercises here: Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation (alberta.ca)

    It’s possible for COVID-19 to cause lymph nodes in the neck to swell, as they are part of the immune system. If you have any difficulty breathing or swallowing as a result, you should follow up with your doctor again or seek emergency care if it’s severe. Here is additional information on swallowing problems after COVID in case that is a problem for you: Symptoms: Eating, drinking, and swallowing problems (alberta.ca)

    It’s great that you are looking for ways to take action to make yourself better. Many people with fatigue and/or POTS have difficulty with activity and exercise, so be careful that you don’t try to take on too much. If you notice your heartrate increases during activity, or your symptoms get worse, Stop, Rest, and Pace right away.  You may be able to access virtual care in the NT for support with your rehab: NWT Virtual Care | Health and Social Services Authority (nthssa.ca) The website says you can self-refer to rehabilitation services, which means you can sign yourself up without needing a referral from a doctor or nurse practitioner: Rehabilitation Services | Health and Social Services Authority (nthssa.ca) A Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist may be able to help guide you with a rehab plan, and help you deal with the fatigue that is interfering with their daily activities. 

    You can find more information about recovery here: COVID-19 Getting Healthy After COVID-19 | Alberta Health Services including a link to more breathing exercises and here: After COVID-19: Information and resources to help you recover (alberta.ca)

    Finally, as a resident of the NWT, you are eligible to call, and receive advice from Alberta’s Rehabilitation Advice Line (RAL) at 1-833-379-0563. More information about this service can be found on the RAL’s website

    Hopefully this information is helpful for you as you recover.

    - Physiotherapist, Alberta Healthy Living Program, Alberta Health Services

    - Rehabilitation Advice Line, Alberta Health Services

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    I have bad dizziness and equilibrium is off and I'm tired every day ever since I had covid. My doctor does not know what to do for me. I'm frustrated and don't know what else to do.

    Williwontgo asked 7 days ago

    Fatigue is a common but troubling symptom of long COVID, and can make it difficult to do your daily activities. Check out this link on managing your energy: Self-care: Managing your energy (alberta.ca). The tips on pacing can be helpful when dealing with fatigue.

    You can find more information about recovery here: COVID-19 Getting Healthy After COVID-19 | Alberta Health Services including a link to more breathing exercises and here: After COVID-19: Information and resources to help you recover (alberta.ca)

    Finally, we encourage you to call the Rehabilitation Advice Line (RAL) at 1-833-379-0563. More information about this service can be found on the RAL’s website. The experienced therapists may be able to provide you with additional advice and strategies that can help with your dizziness, equilibrium and energy. 

    We hope this information is helpful for you on your road to recovery.

    - The Long COVID Resources Team

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    I am wondering if anyone else experiences this and what I can do about it. I am almost 11 weeks post covid infection (covid pneumonia). If I do too much activity (physically or mentally) and get "run down", the next day or so my lungs feel like they're burning, coughing, dry heaving (retching), and tired. Im trying to pace myself and be patient.

    Vanerist asked 2 months ago

    On a respiratory perspective after any pneumonia infections there could still be remaining inflammation in the airways as well as the surrounding lung tissues. The recovery process can take weeks to months and varies from person to person. Keep in mind your airways and lung tissues could still be very sensitive to environmental exposures and any form of exertion such as exercise. I suggest you speak with your doctor regarding your symptoms as a prescribed inhaled puffer could help reduce inflammation and the symptoms you have been experiencing. 

    This free virtual class may interest you: Managing Breathing and Sleep which is part of the Alberta Healthy Living Program Helping You Feel Better after COVID-19 (albertahealthservices.ca) series and taught by Respiratory Therapists. You can view our course catalogue at Alberta Health Services - Public Access (bookking.ca) to see all of the classes offered and to register.

    -Respiratory Therapist, Alberta Healthy Living Program

     

    Thank you for your question. You are not alone in experiencing symptoms weeks after a COVID-19 diagnosis. Everyone experiences the illness differently and everyone recovers differently. A number of people continue to experience difficulties, including ‘brain fog’, fatigue and other symptoms for months after their initial infection. You sound as though you are on the right track, trying to pace your activities and acknowledging that both physical and mental tasks can be fatiguing. It is very important that you stay within your energy limits and not exceed them, otherwise (as you have experienced) it can take days to recover. The Respiratory Therapist has offered advice regarding your breathing and lung concerns. As far as activity and fatigue, I would suggest you connect with the Rehabilitation Advice Line Rehabilitation Advice Line 1-833-379-0563 (Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM) to discuss and problem solve how to approach your recovery and modify and progress your activities. They can delve a bit deeper into how you are pacing and what specific activities you might need to modify. Also, there are education sessions available through the Alberta Healthy Living Program to provide more general information about pacing and managing daily tasks after COVID-19 Alberta Health Services Helping You Feel Better after COVID-19 Managing Daily Life

    All the best with your recovery. 

    -Occupational Therapist, Alberta Healthy Living Program

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    Hello after Covid I am experiencing breathing difficulties, shortness of breath and my heart beats fast.

    Augustine asked 10 days ago

    After a COVID-19 infection there could still be remaining inflammation in the airways as well as the surrounding lung tissues. The recovery process can take weeks to months and varies from person to person. Keep in mind your airways and lung tissues could still be very sensitive to environmental exposures and any form of exertion such as exercise. We suggest you speak with your doctor regarding your symptoms as a prescribed inhaled puffer could help reduce inflammation and the symptoms you have been experiencing. 

    This free virtual class may interest you: Managing Breathing and Sleep which is part of the Alberta Healthy Living Program Helping You Feel Better after COVID-19 (albertahealthservices.ca) series and taught by Respiratory Therapists. You can view our course catalogue at Alberta Health Services - Public Access (bookking.ca) to see all of the classes offered and to register.

    Another option for you is to connect with the Rehabilitation Advice Line Rehabilitation Advice Line 1-833-379-0563 (Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM) to discuss and problem solve how to approach your recovery and modify and progress your activities, which may be related to your increased heart rate. They can delve a bit deeper into how you are pacing and what specific activities you might need to modify. Also, there are education sessions available through the Alberta Healthy Living Program to provide more general information about pacing and managing daily tasks after COVID-19 Alberta Health Services Helping You Feel Better after COVID-19 Managing Daily Life

    All the best with your recovery. 

    - Long COVID Resources Team

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    I’m a covid long hauler and thought maybe I was starting to feel better. I was vaccinated a week ago, have taken 100 steps backwards and was told quickly at a walk-in clinic the lining of my lungs is inflamed and to rest. I’m ready to give up. Any advice?

    Angie19 asked 4 months ago

    Hello again,

    Thank you for your patience as we reached out to some of our experts to ensure we provided you with the most accurate information and advice. Without having more information about your overall health, it is challenging to provide specific advice. As a result, we encourage you to call Health Link if you have not already done so. They can gather more clinical information and determine the next best steps for you.

    We hear your frustration and worry and also encourage you to reach out to the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 for assistance. There are trained counsellors that can help. We also recognize that it can be difficult to reach out. Dealing with changing health conditions as a COVID long hauler often can bring additional mental health stressors.

    Another resource that may be of help to you is Togetherall, which is a safe, online, 24/7 peer community where members remain anonymous to each other and can share their lived experiences with common mental health concerns. Registered mental health practitioners moderate and monitor the community to ensure individuals are safe and feel supported. 

    We hope this helps.

    Thank you,

    The Long COVID Resources team

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    My husband had COVID in the winter and now many foods and drinks taste metallic when they shouldn't. Are there any foods he should avoid or tips to help him manage with this?

    Katherine asked 5 months ago

    I'm sorry to hear that the taste and appetite changes of COVID-19 continue to be a side effect for your husband. You and your husband could try the tips in Eating Well When You Have Taste and Smell Changes or Self-care: Eating Well.

    You may consider enrolling in the Alberta Healthy Living Program Helping You Recover after COVID-19 that features a class called Eating after COVID-19. 

    Also, if your husband has trouble eating a variety of foods, has low appetite, or has experienced weight loss ask your health provider for a referral to a dietitian. The dietitian will be able to offer you and your husband customized advice based on his own situation. Visit ahs.ca/nutrition for services.

    Registered Dietitian - Nutrition Services

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    I lost my taste and smell in January from Covid. It is recovering slower but changed. Are there any current studies within Alberta or Canada that I can be apart of for rehabilitation of my sense of smell and taste?

    Alexis asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your question. I commend your interest in participating in Long COVID research to help shape the future of healthcare in this area while rehabilitating your senses. Some evolving research in training (exercises) for taste and smell indicate that there may be some success for people with Long COVID who experience taste and smell changes. 

    Presently in Alberta, the MOIST Study: Multi-organ imaging with serial testing in COVID-19 infected patients just finished recruiting participants. Another study Physical Activity and Smell Trainings to Help Individuals With Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Recover From Persistent Smell and Taste Impairments - A Pilot Study appears to be getting started but is not yet recruiting. 

    Other studies focusing on people with Long COVID may come-up that you quality for. AHS Participant in Research: Innovation & Research provides information about research in general and includes links to sites, like bethecure.ca, to help you find a research study that is right for you. Try searching the linked databases with different terms, such as: "Long COVID" and "post COVID". 

    If you are interested in some resources to support your current taste and smell abilities visit: Symptoms: Loss of taste and smell

    I encourage you to visit ahs.ca/nutritionresources or ahs.ca/healthyaftercovid to view available resources that may be of interest to you.

    I wish you all the best in your recovery and rehabilitation. 

    Registered Dietitian - Nutrition Services

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    I’m tired all of the time and can't do many of the activities I used to do. I spend a lot of time lying around watching tv, but I’m still exhausted. How can I resume my normal activities, like taking my dog for a walk?

    Jay asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for posting this question. I am very sorry to hear you are feeling so tired. Fatigue is one of the most common and limiting symptoms reported by people living with Long COVID. And it’s not just physical exertion that brings on symptoms – thinking and emotional effort can also make it worse. This may mean that you have to rethink your idea of what “rest” actually is –lying on the couch watching tv, being on your smartphone, or interacting with family may be just as fatiguing as going for a walk. I would suggest you reach out to the Rehab Advice Line and/or register for the patient webinar series that can be found on the "Getting Healthy After COVID-19" link on the main page. You can enroll in as many sessions as you’d like, but you may be interested in ‘Managing Daily Life’ as it covers getting back to your daily activities and conserving your energy. It offers practical solutions for resuming your normal routine while managing low energy and fatigue, so that you can prioritize activities you enjoy, like walking your dog.

    - Physiotherapist - Alberta Health Living Program