Medical group releases treatment recommendations for treating 2 long COVID-19 symptoms

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation shared guidance for clinicians treating patients experiencing lingering breathing discomfort or cognitive symptoms after recovering from COVID-19, a condition known as long COVID-19. 

The guidance statements on breathing discomfort and cognitive symptoms — two of the most common post-COVID-19 symptoms —  address both assessment and treatment of the conditions and were published in the organization's PM&R journal on Dec. 14. 

The severity of post-COVID-19-related breathing issues appear to be associated with the severity of a patient's initial bout with the virus, the group said in a Dec. 14 news release, adding that cognitive symptoms, which range from brain fog to difficulty completing daily activities or loss of concentration, occur more frequently among women. 

"New research shows that patients with strong interpersonal support systems and good sleep hygiene respond better to long COVID therapies, and these activities are especially important in rehabilitation for cognitive symptoms," said Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, MD, co-author of the breathing discomfort and cognitive symptoms guidance statements. "We must make sure that rehabilitation for all patients with long COVID symptoms is individually tailored and moves at the patient's own pace rather than a set timetable."

Between 3 million and 13 million Americans have persistent symptoms, according to estimates based on data from the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Association of Physical Medicine and Rehailitation's long COVID-19 dashboard

The organization released its first clinical guidance statement on post-COVID-19-related fatigue in August and plans to issue additional long COVID-19 guidance on cardiovascular complications, autonomic disorders, mental health, pediatrics and neurology. 

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