Published September 1, 2023
This season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an updated flu vaccination and an updated COVID-19 vaccination for all persons 6 months or older to protect against serious illness. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, suggests that all persons, including long COVID patients, should receive their updated vaccinations.
There are two exceptions for the updated COVID-19 vaccination:
The best way to reduce the risk of long COVID is to prevent COVID-19. The best way to reduce the risk of seasonal flu and COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Staying up to date on vaccinations is the best defense against long COVID. There are precautions that individuals can take to further reduce their risk during the upcoming respiratory virus season, including:
“Receiving the updated flu and COVID booster shots is the best way to stay healthy,” says Russo.
The UBMD Long COVID Recovery Center, a multidisciplinary effort aiming to provide support to those affected by long COVID, is now open.
To be scheduled at the UBMD Long COVID Recovery Center, you must first complete the Long COVID Registry. Completing the registry allows providers to have a better understanding of your long COVID experience prior to your appointment. Completing the registry also helps researchers to further assess the extent of the long COVID problem in Western New York. The UBMD Long COVID Recovery Center, however, is not research. It is a clinical practice.
Our mission is to help patients manage long COVID symptoms with a holistic approach to treatment. We want to connect those who have participated in the Long COVID Registry to accessible opportunities and resources, such as educational opportunities, future research opportunities, mental health support and referrals to other medical specialties.
Although seniors are not more prone to long COVID overall, data shows that they are more prone to four clusters of long COVID symptoms: metabolic disorders, cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal problems and strokes, cognitive decline, and other neurological symptoms. Long COVID is placing a high burden on older individuals. Not only can long COVID in seniors exacerbate the health problems that many already have, but they are frequently mistaking long COVID for other common conditions, attributing their symptoms to aging. Paxlovid, the antiviral treatment, is highly recommended to seniors who receive a positive COVID test. The antiviral treatment can reduce the risk of developing long COVID or exacerbating any preexisting conditions.
Two variants of COVID-19, EG.5 and B.A.2.86, have emerged. EG.5 does not appear to have major differences compared to other variants in terms of contagiousness, symptoms, or likelihood of causing severe illness. The main concern with EG.5 is that its prevalence is growing. BA.2.86, an Omicron variant, is one that scientists are monitoring. BA.2.86 carries various mutations making it difficult to predict how it will behave in our population. With the emergence of EG.5 and BA.2.86, scientists expect the updated, recommended COVID-19 vaccination to provide strong protection against the two new variants.
RECOVER-NEURO is a clinical trial that is part of the National Institutes of Health RECOVER Initiative. RECOVER-NEURO is studying possible treatments to improve working memory, attention, executive functions, and information processing speed for people who have long COVID.
Participants of the RECOVER-NEURO trials can complete study procedures at home, including cognitive testing and noninvasive brain stimulation. The trial will enroll approximately 315 individuals who will complete a 10-week study intervention period with a follow up visit after 90 days, all throughout the United States.
RECOVER-NEURO is one of five ongoing clinical trials investigating long COVID from the RECOVER Initiative.
If you had COVID-19 and would like to participate, enter the registry and begin filling out the questionnaire.
If you have already participated, feel free to share with others who may be interested.
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