Women's Health

The intersection of long Covid and obesity



What is the long Covid?

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

Nearly 1 in 3 people who contract Covid report having a long Covid.

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

Common symptoms of long Covid

Most people who have had Covid for a long time report that the 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

  • Headache

  • brain fog

How is obesity linked to long Covid?

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

  • Weakening the immune system response

  • Worsening of lung function

  • Cause inflammation in the body, which is an overreaction of the immune system and can prolong the duration of Covid symptoms

Do Covid vaccines help with long Covid?

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

Does your weight affect how well Covid vaccines work?

People who get vaccinated are less likely to get severe Covid than people who aren’t vaccinated, regardless of weight.

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

If you are obese, it is important to see your health care provider as soon as possible if you have been exposed to Covid-19.

This resource was created with support from Pfizer.



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