The Intersection of Long Covid and Obesity

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What is long Covid?

Long Covid, which is sometimes called post-Covid conditions, is when Covid symptoms last 4 weeks or more after the initial infection. 

Almost 1 out of 3 people who get Covid report having long Covid. 

Because Covid is new, scientists don’t know everything about long Covid yet. 

Common symptoms of long Covid

Most people who have long Covid report that symptoms limit their daily activities. About 1 in 4 people report significant impairments.

Long Covid can take many forms but some common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue 

  • Fever 

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath 

  • Heart palpitations

  • Headaches

  • Brain fog

How does obesity relate to long Covid?

Living with obesity increases the risk of severe Covid and for developing long Covid.  Obesity can make Covid worse because it can:

  • Weaken the immune system response

  • Make lung function worse

  • Cause inflammation of the body, which is an overreaction of the immune system and can make Covid symptoms last longer

Do Covid vaccines help with long Covid? 

Studies show that having at least 2 Covid vaccines lowers the risk of developing long Covid.

Does your weight change how well Covid vaccines work? 

People who get vaccinated are less likely to get severe Covid than people who are not vaccinated, no matter what their weight is. 

But research has shown that vaccinated people who have underweight or overweight are at higher risk of getting very sick from Covid than vaccinated people with a healthy weight. 

If you have obesity, it’s important to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you’ve been exposed to Covid-19.

This resource was created with support from Pfizer. 

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