5+ early symptoms may predict 'long COVID,' study finds

People who have more than five symptoms of COVID-19 during the first week of illness may be more likely to develop prolonged health issues, known as "long COVID," according to a study published March 10 in Nature Medicine.

Researchers analyzed data on 4,182 COVID-19 cases in which patients self-reported symptoms through an app. About 13 percent of patients reported virus symptoms lasting 28 days or more, and 4.5 percent had symptoms for eight weeks or more. Another 2.3 percent reported symptoms for at least 12 weeks.

Symptoms included fatigue, headache, difficulty breathing and loss of taste or smell. Patients with prolonged symptoms were more likely to be older, female or have a higher body mass index compared to those who had symptoms for 10 days or less. 

Based on these findings, researchers created a predictive model to distinguish between short and long COVID-19 within a week of illness. 

Researchers said the study's findings could help identify people at risk of long COVID and aid prevention, treatment and rehabilitation efforts.  

To learn more, click here.

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