Last week, the CDC issued guidelines on diagnosis, treatment, and management of “Post-COVID Conditions."
Post-COVID conditions span a number of ailments—both physical and mental—that affect some patients infected by COVID-19. These can include headache, dizziness upon standing, tiredness or fatigue, joint or muscle pain, difficulty thinking or concentrating, loss of smell or taste, heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, depression or anxiety, and fever, as well as symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities.
The symptoms present after 4 weeks or more after the individual has been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This range of conditions can present in patients with initial severe manifestation of the infection as well as those with initial mild or even asymptomatic presentation.
Primary care providers can manage most post-COVID conditions according to the CDC, which advises the use of patient-centric methods and strategies to help patients attain better quality of life and function, and improvement of physical, mental, and social wellbeing. The emphasis should be on shared decision-making between providers and patients with a focus on specific symptoms.
The CDC cautions against reliance on lab or imaging findings as the only method to evaluate a patient's well-being, since the absence of relevant results via imaging does not necessarily give an indicator of the existence of post-COVID symptoms in a patient or its severity. Healthcare professionals should also be aware that we lack a thorough understanding of post-COVID conditions at this time and the guidelines are bound to change as we acquire more evidence and data.
Read the full guidance here.
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