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This Is How Long Covid Lasts Now, According to Doctors

Men’s Health | by Erica Sweeny | September 12, 2023

Source: This Is How Long Covid Lasts Now, According to Doctors (msn.com)


theNational.buzz Summary:

  • COVID-19 symptoms and their duration vary among individuals, influenced by factors such as overall health and vaccination status.
  • COVID-19 typically progresses through three stages: incubation, acute illness, and recovery.
  • Most healthy individuals with mild COVID-19 cases recover within three to five days, but some may experience lingering symptoms or test positive for a more extended period.

COVID-19 INFECTIONS affect everyone differently.

Some people have mild symptoms or none at all, while others become severely ill. Some feel poorly for just a few days or up to a week, and others have lingering symptoms for months. It all depends on several factors, including your overall health.

“The length that someone experiences Covid symptoms varies based on the individual and their pre-existing health conditions,” says Vincent Covelli, M.D., a board-certified infectious disease physician with PlushCare.

When you get Covid, you can expect your illness to follow three stages, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The incubation period, which can last two to 14 days, is the time between getting infected and when symptoms show up. The acute stage is after symptoms appear and can last one to two weeks. Then, there’s the recovery phase, where you may have a lingering cough or tiredness for a few days or a few weeks.

People with weakened immune systems are most at risk for severe illness from Covid, as well as people with health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the CDC. People over 50 are also more likely to get very sick when they have Covid.

On the other hand, if you’ve received your Covid vaccinations and boosters, you’re less likely to experience severe symptoms or be hospitalized.

For most healthy people, a Covid infection will typically resolve fairly quickly, Dr. Covelli says. “Someone in generally good health may feel better and test negative within one to two weeks.”

Doctors explain how long you can usually expect Covid to last, and how long you’ll test positive and be contagious.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Recovery Duration

How Long Does Covid Last?

Most people with mild cases of Covid will stop feeling sick in about three to five days, says Henry Redel, M.D., chief of infectious disease at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Although, some people might feel better and stop showing signs of the virus sooner. Others might take longer to get well, he adds.

“It really depends on the severity of illness,” explains Brian Labus, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Public Health. “Covid can still cause a very serious disease that results in hospitalization or death, and even less severe infections can result in COVID symptoms that linger for months.”

What Are the Most Common Covid Symptoms?

Even though there are several new Covid variants out there and new ones likely to emerge, the most common symptoms haven’t changed much over the past few years.

Common Covid symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches and headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Loss of taste and smell

Generally, Dr. Covelli says Covid symptoms are mild these days. They’re also beginning to mimic flu-like symptoms, including sore throat, muscle pain, chills, and a dry cough. He says he’s seeing fewer patients with low oxygen levels and shortness of breath.

The reason is that many people have developed some level of immunity, either because of getting vaccinated or exposure to the virus, he adds.

How Long Can You Test Positive for Covid-19?

Many people keep testing positive for Covid within 10 days of having symptoms, but some can test positive for much longer, even when they’re no longer feeling sick, Labus says.

“This doesn’t mean they’re still infectious, but it may mean that the body just hasn’t cleared the infection yet,” he says. “And remember, some people get infected and test positive even though they have no symptoms.”

PCR tests (the ones administered by healthcare providers) can detect Covid particles for weeks after a positive test result, even when you’re not showing symptoms or contagious, Dr. Covelli says.

Antigen tests (the at-home tests) tend to show results more rapidly than PCR tests and typically provide negative results when you’re no longer infected, he adds.

When Are You No Longer Contagious?

Most healthy people, with normal immune system functioning, no longer spread Covid after 10 days from the start of their symptoms, Dr. Redel says. Individuals with immunodeficiencies can take about 20 days to stop spreading the virus.

“However, this may differ from person to person,” Dr. Covelli says. “It’s recommended to take a rapid antigen test and wait for a negative result before ending quarantine.”

The CDC says people who are asymptomatic or have mild Covid should isolate for five days after their symptoms start or after they test positive.

“People can stop isolating after five days as long as their symptoms have improved and they do not have a fever, although they should wear a mask for five additional days to reduce the risk of infecting others,” Labus says.

How to Keep From Getting Sick

Even though most healthy people will recover after a few days when they have Covid, it’s best not to get the virus at all.

Take these steps to protect yourself:

  • Get vaccinated—and, get the latest updated shots
  • Avoid crowded indoor spaces when you can
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Avoid contact with people who’ve tested positive or show symptoms
  • Wear a mask
  • Get tested when you know you’ve been exposed to Covid or have symptoms

COVID-19 Symptoms and Recovery Duration

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