How Long Does It Take to Recover from COVID-19?
Though the numbers of severe COVID-19 illnesses are no longer at the critical levels we saw for the first couple of years, the ongoing pandemic continues to generate questions, including how long it takes the average patient to recover. COVID recovery time varies from person to person, based on a variety of factors.
Data from the National Institutes of Health indicate that COVID recovery times for mild to moderate cases range from a couple of days to around two weeks. Severe cases can take up to six weeks or more. For long-covid patients, symptoms will typically last three months or more.
It’s important to know that these are estimates, and research is still being done to determine the full scope of recovery times. The type, severity, and duration of symptoms can differ between patients, and often fluctuate even within the same patient, which are two issues that have made effective ongoing care confusing and complicated.
If you or someone you care about have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are continuing to experience symptoms for more than a couple of weeks, it’s important to keep working with your doctor and alert them to any new or worsening effects as they emerge.
What symptoms am I likely to experience?
Symptoms of COVID during recovery time.
COVID-19 patients may experience a full range of physical and psychological symptoms for days and weeks following their initial diagnosis and contagion period. It’s important to manage these symptoms independently or with your doctor as they arise. Some of the more common signs of COVID include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of taste and/or smell
- Muscle and joint pain
- Trouble breathing
- Fever and other flu-like symptoms
- Chest pain and pressure
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Racing heartbeat
- Dizziness and disorientation
- Problems concentrating
Are you experiencing prolonged COVID recovery time?
Stay up-to-date on the latest news about long COVID on Responsum for Long COVID.
Prolonged COVID symptoms can lead to long-term organ and tissue damage. Testing data shows that some people sustain lasting damage to heart muscles, alveoli (air sacs in the lungs), and may experience Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which a person’s own immune system attacks the body’s nerves, causing muscle weakness and even paralysis.
CDC guidelines concerning masks, social distancing, and self-quarantine are continually updated as research studies provide new information. If you’ve tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it’s good to wait until you’ve tested negative twice before being around vulnerable people. Be aware that symptoms such as cough and loss of taste and/or smell may linger for a while after you have otherwise recovered from the infection and illness.
What should I do during my COVID recovery time?
It’s essential to practice proper self-care during your COVID recovery time. This means:
- Staying home until the majority of your symptoms are gone, leaving your house only to obtain necessary medical care. Call ahead of doctor appointments to let the office know you have tested positive for the virus. Do not visit public areas.
- Staying adequately hydrated and eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains to support overall health and recovery.
- Continuing to disinfect your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and using different towels from the rest of your family members or other housemates.
Even people with only mild illnesses from their infections can still experience lingering, new, or recurring symptoms from the virus, so continue to monitor your health closely even after you feel better from your acute infection.