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The Post COVID-19 Recovery Program at the Winchester Center for Lung Disease

The Post COVID-19 Recovery Program at the Winchester Center for Lung Disease is a multidisciplinary team of specialists focused on evaluating and treating patients struggling with the long-term effects of COVID-19. This is often referred to as as long COVID or Post COVID, as some patients are experiencing symptoms weeks or months after their initial diagnosis.

Researchers are still studying long COVID to determine its cause and best treatments. Therefore, the team at Yale New Haven Health, which includes pulmonologists, cardiologists, neurologists, social workers and physical therapists, works to develop individualized recovery plans for each patient. Read more about the program below.

Who can get long COVID?

Anyone can get long COVID. Persistent symptoms are not limited to those who were hospitalized or needed mechanical ventilation or ICU care.

In addition, there are patients with ongoing symptoms who are in their 20s and 30s who had no previous health conditions before contracting COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of long COVID?

Some of the common symptoms associated with long COVID include shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, memory issues, palpitations, back and joint pain as well as hair loss. These symptoms can be debilitating and occur weeks or even months after a person first experiences COVID-19.

What do the treatments entail?

Each treatment is tailored to the individual patient, starting first with a standard pulmonary evaluation, pulmonary function tests and physical therapy evaluation. The next step may include medication, exercise therapy or additional evaluation by our cardiology or neurology partners depending on symptoms described.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine help those with long COVID?

There are multiple reports in the media of patients improving following COVID-19 vaccination but further study is needed to evaluate this. Patients who have had COVID-19 still require vaccination, if they have not previously completed this, because it is unclear how long patients are protected after recovery. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are unsure what treatments you received please consult your primary care doctor.

Who is eligible for the program?

The Program includes anyone who has had COVID-19 with persistent symptoms more than 6 weeks after their initial infection and is not limited to those who have had intensive care unit stays.

How do I see a specialist in the Post COVID Recovery Program?

Patients will need a referral from another clinician to sign up for this program. This can come from a primary care physician or other specialists, such as a pulmonologists or cardiologists. Referrals can also come from healthcare providers within a Yale New Haven Health hospital.