Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

Caring for People with Post-COVID Conditions

Caring for People with Post-COVID Conditions

This information is intended for a general audience. Healthcare providers should see the interim guidance on evaluating and caring for patients with post-COVID conditions for more detailed information on management.

Having a post-COVID condition or supporting someone with a post-COVID condition can be challenging. It can be difficult to care for yourself or loved ones, especially when there are few or no immediate answers or solutions. However, there are ways to help relieve some of the additional burdens of experiencing or caring for someone with a new and unknown condition.

If you care for someone, remember to take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Understand Your Experience

Each person copes differently with a long-term illness, and there are different ways to manage the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty of a new illness. Some people find taking an active role in understanding their condition is a comfort for managing their ongoing illness:

  • Read about the experiences of other people with a post-COVID condition.
    Understanding other people’s experiences with post-COVID conditions and reflecting on how these experiences may be similar or different than your own can help confirm you are not alone.
  • Contribute to ongoing scientific research.
    Participating in research studies can build a larger understanding of new and unknown illnesses. Information about enrolling in clinical trials related to COVID-19 can be found at CombatCovid.hhs.govexternal icon, and includes opportunities for persons with and without COVID-19.

People experiencing post-COVID conditions may find different strategies to be helpful. If you are experiencing a post-COVID condition, you should engage in whatever coping strategies are best for your mental and physical health.

Ways to Cope with Stress

Experts are still determining which types of medications or treatments can help to relieve the effects of post-COVID conditions. However, there are established ways people can manage the stress associated with a post-COVID condition.

Here are some steps you can do to help manage and cope with stress:

For information, explore CDC’s recommendations on how to cope with a disaster or traumatic event.

If any of these steps require changes to your routine, diet, activity level, or medication, talk to your healthcare provider.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, anxiety, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others:

Support People with Post-COVID Conditions

Experiencing post-COVID conditions can be confusing and frustrating, and a person who feels sick long-term may feel isolated. Everyone experiences these conditions differently and may want different types of support or even no support at all. To determine the most helpful steps you can take for others, first listen with compassion and ask questions about what they need.

CDC’s How Right Now campaign provides helpful tools for navigating conversations about the type of support someone with post-COVID conditions may need.

sol icon

Listen with compassion

The unknown and long-term nature of a post-COVID condition can create stress. Taking steps to understand the person’s experiences might make them feel less isolated.


What to do:

  • When listening, give feedback that acknowledges and validates what they are going through.
  • For tips on how to communicate compassionately while listening to their experiences, visit the CDC’s suggestions for listening with compassion.
sol icon

Listen with compassion

The unknown and long-term nature of a post-COVID condition can create stress. Taking steps to understand the person’s experiences might make them feel less isolated.


What to do:

  • When listening, give feedback that acknowledges and validates what they are going through.
  • For tips on how to communicate compassionately while listening to their experiences, visit the CDC’s suggestions for listening with compassion.

sol icon

Start a conversation to gain understanding

Support can look different to different people. To best understand what type of support a person needs, start by asking them to talk and ask questions about their experiences.


What to do:

  • When having these conversations, start with an open-ended question, like “How’s it going for you these days?” Then, work to narrow down what you can do to help.
  • After taking time to compassionately listen to their responses, directly ask what they need or what you can do to help.
  • Learn more about CDC’s tips on how to start these types of meaningful conversations.
sol icon

Start a conversation to gain understanding

Support can look different to different people. To best understand what type of support a person needs, start by asking them to talk and ask questions about their experiences.


What to do:

  • When having these conversations, start with an open-ended question, like “How’s it going for you these days?” Then, work to narrow down what you can do to help.
  • After taking time to compassionately listen to their responses, directly ask what they need or what you can do to help.
  • Learn more about CDC’s tips on how to start these types of meaningful conversations.

sol icon

Determine how you can help with what they need

After you have listened and worked to understand what support looks like for the person, determine your role in that support.

  • Some people may want someone to listen to their experiences more frequently.
  • Others may need more physical support (help with household chores, running errands).

There will be times where you may not be able to support a person exactly as they need, and it’s ok to acknowledge that. Just be direct in saying what you can and can’t do.


For example: 

  • “I understand that you need help getting groceries because you are not feeling up to grocery shopping. I don’t have a car, but I can recommend the delivery service I use.”
sol icon

Determine how you can help with what they need

After you have listened and worked to understand what support looks like for the person, determine your role in that support.

  • Some people may want someone to listen to their experiences more frequently.
  • Others may need more physical support (help with household chores, running errands).

There will be times where you may not be able to support a person exactly as they need, and it’s ok to acknowledge that. Just be direct in saying what you can and can’t do.


For example: 

  • “I understand that you need help getting groceries because you are not feeling up to grocery shopping. I don’t have a car, but I can recommend the delivery service I use.”