1. Home  
  2. Health  
  3. Health issues  
  4. A to Z  
  5. COVID-19  
  6. Long COVID



COVID-19 symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have few or no symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms. However, most people easily recover from the disease.

In some cases, recovery takes a few weeks. Although data are still limited, it is currently recommended to rest up based on your symptoms and to not rush back to your regular activities.

Nevertheless, a number of people continue to experience symptoms beyond the first weeks after infection; while others develop symptoms after their initial recovery. According to Statistics Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window., around 15% of infected people experience symptoms for three or more months, and 1 in 5 of them see a significant impact on their daily activities.

Several terms are used to describe these lingering, or persistent, symptoms: post-COVID condition, post-COVID syndrome, long COVID, etc.

Long COVID is characterized by a wide array of symptoms. They range from mild to disabling and can even prevent people from functioning in their daily lives. The most commonly described symptoms include persistent fatigue, shortness of breath, impaired cognitive function (“brain fog”) and worsening symptoms following exertion that was previously well-tolerated. People may experience many other symptoms.

Long COVID can also affect children. However, current data do not provide a clear understanding of the frequency of long COVID in children.

The commonly known risk factors include:

  • female sex
  • association of several diseases (diabetes, obesity, asthma, auto-immune disorder, etc.)
  • severe initial infection (or moderate in children and teens)
  • high number of symptoms appearing in the initial infection

Studies are currently underway to better identify the risk factors associated with long COVID. It will take time to develop and refine this knowledge.


Studies have been undertaken to identify the full range of symptoms, which can vary from person to person. So far, more than 200 symptoms associated with long COVID have been identified. They can vary in intensity over time.

The most common symptoms having a major impact on daily functioning include:

  • disabling, persistent fatigue
  • worsening of symptoms following exertion that was once well-tolerated - post-exertional malaise
  • memory impairment
  • difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • shortness of breath

Other reported symptoms

Other reported symptoms that may be associated with long COVID (non-exhaustive list) include:

  • Cardiorespiratory symptoms
    • irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)
    • heart palpitations
    • shortness of breath
    • cough
    • malaise in upright position
    • chest discomfort or pain
  • Gastro-intestinal symptoms
    • abdominal pain (gut pain)
    • nausea
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms
    • muscle pain
    • joint pain
  • Neurological symptoms
    • disturbed sleep
    • headaches
    • impaired senses (smell, taste, sight, etc.)
    • speech and language problems
  • Otorhinolaryngological symptoms (ears, nose, throat)
    • taste and smell disturbance
    • tinnitus
    • dizziness
    • difficulty swallowing
    • sore throat
    • earache
    • voice changes
  • Psychological symptoms
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • post-traumatic stress

Symptoms may change depending on the different variants emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly half of the people who still have symptoms four weeks after their COVID-19 infection will have recovered naturally by the 12th week. Other people’s recovery will be slower and will take place over several months, if not years. In the year following infection, many people with long COVID will see their symptoms resolve completely. However, others may experience long-lasting symptoms. That is why it is important for you to get information and support to help better understand and cope with this disorder.

When to seek medical attention

After the initial infection period, if your symptoms keep preventing you from performing your daily duties (preparing meals, food shopping, taking care of the children, etc.) or even your basic daily activities (getting washed and dressed, etc.), contact a doctor. If you do not have a family doctor, register on the waiting list through the Québec Family Doctor Finder (GAMF) because you will need regular care if your lingering symptoms are associated with long COVID. After registering, you can get an appointment through the digital Primary Care Access Point (GAP) This hyperlink will open in a new window..


The approach offered through the network of long-COVID clinics is designed to complete the assessment of your health condition and to order any necessary additional tests.

There are currently no medications or rehabilitative therapy to help cure long COVID. Nevertheless, research teams are keeping an eye on the advancement of knowledge and scientific studies on the treatment for this disorder.

Some steps can nevertheless be taken to reduce the effects of some of the symptoms while we wait for more suitable treatments to be developed.

Educating people about symptom self-management is one of the objectives of the clinic network (see below). This knowledge will allow you to better cope with your symptoms while waiting for advances in knowledge and the development of clinical solutions.

Several symptom self-management sheets developed by the Centre intégré en santé et services sociaux de la Montérégie-Ouest have been made available to assist you with managing your symptoms. We recommend that you read them and discuss them with a doctor or health professional if necessary.


Here are some symptom self-management sheets related to long COVID. They will help you learn how to better handle your lingering symptoms.

Protection and prevention

COVID-19 vaccination and the public health measures to reduce the risks of spreading the disease are currently the best strategies to lower the risk of getting infected with long COVID. Additional information on reducing the risks for spreading COVID-19 is available on the page Symptoms, transmission and treatment (COVID-19).

For further information on the COVID-19 vaccine, see the page COVID-19 vaccination.

Network of long-COVID clinics

A network of clinics is available to people with long COVID. Some regions have been grouped together to allow the entire population to access the services.

Warning notice

Note that some institutions have not yet opened their clinic. This page will be updated as the clinics gradually open.

Here is the list of long-COVID clinics:




Mauricie et Centre-du-Québec






Montérégie (Ouest)

For regions without clinics, here are the institutions assigned to offer services:







Montérégie (Centre et Est)



Access to the services offered by long-COVID clinics

To have access to the services offered by long-COVID clinics, you must:

  • have had COVID-19. Your diagnosis may have been made through a PCR test but also by a health professional.
  • have seen a health professional who assessed your clinical situation to rule out any other condition that could explain your symptoms
  • have had physical and/or cognitive symptoms that have lasted for more than 12 weeks following your initial COVID-19 infection
  • have clinical manifestations that cannot be explained by any other condition and that did not exist before the COVID-19 infection
  • have been referred to a long-COVID clinic by the doctor or specialized nurse practitioner who examined you and believes that your clinical situation requires additional specialized care.

Research on long COVID

Part of the activities performed by the network of long-COVID clinics involves research. Data collection and other research projects are designed to gain a better understanding of this disorder, and intervention strategies could be implemented to support people with long COVID. You may therefore be asked to contribute to research projects or data sharing.

With your consent, all the information collected and analyzed could help better understand this disorder. Note that you are under no obligation to consent to sharing your data. Refusal to do so will in no way affect the care you receive.

Last update: January 29, 2024


Was the information on this page useful to you?
General notice

You have questions or require additional information?

Please contact Services Québec