Long-Haul COVID: Understanding Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Management

COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, has affected millions of people around the world. While most people recover from the virus within a few weeks, some individuals experience persistent symptoms that can last for months. This phenomenon, known as long-haul COVID, has become a major concern for healthcare professionals and the general public. In this research paper, we will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and management of long-haul COVID.

What is Long-Haul COVID?

Long-haul COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), refers to a collection of symptoms that persist for weeks or months after the initial infection with COVID-19. These symptoms can affect multiple organ systems, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, and gastrointestinal systems. The symptoms of long-haul COVID vary widely and can include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, cognitive difficulties, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues.

Diagnosis of Long-Haul COVID:

Diagnosing long-haul COVID can be challenging, as the symptoms can be nonspecific and overlap with other medical conditions. Healthcare professionals typically perform a thorough medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests, including blood tests, imaging studies, and pulmonary function tests, to rule out other conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals with COVID-19 should be considered to have long COVID if they continue to experience symptoms four or more weeks after the initial onset of symptoms, or if their symptoms have developed after a documented COVID-19 infection, even if the initial infection was mild or asymptomatic.


Management of Long-Haul COVID:

The management of long-haul COVID is focused on relieving symptoms and improving overall quality of life. Treatment plans are tailored to the individual’s specific symptoms and may include medications, physical therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Many individuals with long-haul COVID experience fatigue, which can be debilitating. Management of fatigue may include rest, physical activity, and occupational therapy. Other symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain may require medications or pulmonary rehabilitation.

Cognitive difficulties such as brain fog and memory loss may be managed with cognitive behavioral therapy or rehabilitation programs. Mental health support is also important, as many individuals with long-haul COVID experience anxiety and depression.

Research on Long-Haul COVID:

The medical community is still learning about long-haul COVID, and research is ongoing. Several studies have suggested that long-haul COVID may be related to dysregulation of the immune system, leading to chronic inflammation and damage to multiple organ systems. Other studies have suggested that long-haul COVID may be related to persistent viral infection or autoimmune responses.

Treatment and Prevention of Long-Haul COVID:

While there is currently no cure for long-haul COVID, management of symptoms and overall health can improve quality of life. Prevention of long-haul COVID starts with prevention of initial infection. Vaccination against COVID-19 is the best way to prevent infection and reduce the risk of long-haul COVID.


Long-haul COVID is a challenging condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. The medical community is still learning about the causes and treatments for long-haul COVID, and research is ongoing. As we continue to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the body, it is essential to prioritize prevention, vaccination, and management of symptoms to improve the overall health of individuals affected by long-haul COVID.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Post-COVID Conditions.” CDC, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html.
  2. Taquet, Maxime, et al. “Mental Disorders and SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A National Cohort Study.” The Lancet Psychiatry, vol. 8, no. 2, 2021, pp. 130-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30462-4.
  3. Wong, Tricia L., et al. “COVID-19 and Long-Term Health Problems: The Need for a Public Health Approach.” The Lancet Public Health, vol. 5, no. 5, 2020, pp. e235-e236. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30096-1.
  4. Nalbandian, Angela, et al. “Post-acute COVID-19 Syndrome.” Nature Medicine, vol. 27, no. 4, 2021, pp. 601-615. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01283-z.
  5. National Institutes of Health. “COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines: Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome.” NIH, 2022, https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/overview/long-term-effects/.

The Power of XCOM: How Playing this Video Game Can Improve Your Mental Health

Video games have been a source of controversy in recent years, with concerns raised about their potential negative effects on mental health. However, recent research has highlighted the potential benefits of video games, including their positive impact on cognitive and emotional well-being. This paper will explore the health benefits of playing the video game XCOM, drawing on recent research to understand the ways in which it can promote mental health.

The Benefits of XCOM for Mental Health

XCOM is a tactical role-playing game that involves players commanding a squad of soldiers to fight off an alien invasion. The game requires players to strategize and make complex decisions, promoting cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills (1). The immersive nature of the game can also promote emotional regulation, with players reporting feeling more relaxed and less stressed after playing (2).

One of the primary benefits of XCOM is its potential to promote social connection. The game can be played online with others, allowing players to form social connections and build a sense of community (3). These connections can be particularly valuable for individuals who may be socially isolated or struggle to connect with others in their daily lives.

Furthermore, the game can be a source of empowerment and self-esteem. Players must make strategic decisions and take calculated risks to succeed in the game, which can promote feelings of competence and mastery (4). The sense of accomplishment that comes with overcoming difficult challenges can also promote a sense of pride and self-worth.

Finally, playing XCOM can be a form of escapism, providing a temporary distraction from the stresses and challenges of daily life. This can be particularly valuable for individuals who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.

Implications for Mental Health

The potential benefits of XCOM for mental health are significant. By promoting cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation, social connection, and self-esteem, the game can help individuals develop coping skills and improve their overall well-being. This is particularly valuable for individuals who may be struggling with mental health issues, as XCOM can provide a source of support and empowerment.

Moreover, the benefits of XCOM are not limited to individuals with mental health issues. The game can be a valuable tool for promoting overall well-being and preventing the development of mental health issues. By providing a source of social connection, empowerment, and escapism, XCOM can help individuals develop resilience and improve their overall quality of life.


XCOM is a video game that can promote cognitive and emotional well-being, social connection, self-esteem, and empowerment. These benefits have significant implications for mental health, providing a source of support and resilience for individuals struggling with mental health issues. Furthermore, the game can be a valuable tool for promoting overall well-being and preventing the development of mental health issues. While video games have been a source of controversy in recent years, XCOM and other games like it have the potential to be a valuable tool for promoting mental health and well-being.


  1. Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78.
  2. Riva, G., Wiederhold, B. K., & Cipresso, P. (2016). Psychology of virtual reality: Concepts, methods, and applications. Springer.
  3. Cole, H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Social interactions in massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(4), 575-583.
  4. Ryan, R. M., Rigby, C. S., & Przybylski, A. (2006). The motivational pull of video games: A self-determination theory approach. Motivation and Emotion, 30(4), 344-360.
  5. Russoniello, C. V., O’Brien, K., & Parks, J. M. (2009). The effectiveness of casual video games in improving mood and decreasing stress. Journal of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation, 2(1), 53-66.

Breathe Clearer and Live Allergy Free With Nasal Irrigation: Jala Neti


Nasal irrigation (aka nasal lavage or nasal douche) is a method of cleaning the nasal cavities in order to avoid and/or treat allergies, sinus infections, and to generally improve breathing.

Nasal irrigation has existed for at least several thousand years, appearing in the ancient Vedas and remaining a central part of Ayurvedic medicine. It is known as Jala Neti in Sanskrit, and is the first and most essential step for practicing Kriya Yoga due to its ability to clear the nasal breathing passage: the foundation of yoga and meditation. Nasal irrigation is also an essential part of Shatkarma, the yogic system of fully cleansing and purifying the body to make way for proper and advanced meditation and yogic practices.

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Hailed by practitioners all over the world, nasal irrigation has gained incredible prominence in the west over the last decade. Health professionals and daily practitioners agree that it is an effective method for cleaning the nasal passages and breathing easier.

According to Evangeline Lausier, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine and director of clinical services at Duke University’s department of integrative medicine,

I find it to be the first line of defense in dealing with complicated sinus problems and allergy problems, particularly  if you are developing congestion or have a sinus infection, it’s very helpful.

The tool nasal irrigation practitioners use comes in many forms with the most common and basic being a bulb syringe, squeeze bottle, or neti pot. This article will focus on neti pots, as they are the most widely used, and my personal favorite.

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By using a neti pot, nasal irrigation acts as an aid for the cleaning system that is already in place inside your nose.  WebMD explains:

The nasal passages come equipped with tiny, hair-like structures called cilia, which beat back and forth to catch dirt, bacteria, viruses, and other unwelcome substances. The cilia beat and the mucus acts kind of like flypaper, catching spores and particles you inhale. Those particles get pushed down to the back of the throat, where they are swallowed and destroyed by stomach acid.

Nasal irrigation helps thin out the mucus and improve the coordination of the cilia to help them more effectively remove bacteria and other irritants from the sinus passages.

You clean your skin, your hair, your teeth, your tongue, your ears… but not your nose, especially not your nasal cavity.  Our bodies are attacked and foraged by a constant onslaught of bacteria and microbes, and your nose is equipped with a natural filtration system to keep those creepies on the outside.  How many of you have ever seen an air filter last forever?  You need to replace it every so often, right? The same principal applies with your nasal cavity; it must be cleaned.  Have you ever seen an air filter that hasn’t been replaced in a while?  If you’ve never done jala neti, imagine what your nasal cavity must look like!

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For those of you that have concerns, nasal irrigation is a very safe practice. In fact, it is virtually devoid of any complications at all. Studies have shown that even doing it 2-6 times a day is safe and generally side effect free. The Department of Family Medicine, at the University of Wisconsin found that

daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis.

Although it is rare, a very small number of people do note minor nasal irritation, though studies have shown that the irritation is frankly worth it in view of the benefits.

So, how do you practice nasal irrigation? With a neti pot, especially those made by NielMed, it is very cheap and simple. A basic explanation of the process involves placing the spout of the neti pot in one nostril, tilting your head, and allowing a salt water mix to glide into the nostril, through the nasal cavity, and out the other nostril.  Dry yourself, and repeat.  There are details you should make sure to pay attention to, like proper drying techniques and proper salt water mixtures.  Use this explanation on how to practice nasal irrigation safely to ensure everything flows smoothly.

Related Article: No Breathing Required

By the way, if you are interested, there is a more advanced version of jala neti called sutra neti which involves cleaning the nasal cavity with a cord running down your throat that you pull back and forth between your nose and mouth. If you are planning to try out this method, make sure to read this guide from yoga-age and do it safely.

*Important Note* The most important thing to remember is to use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water. There have been two cases of deaths linked to nasal irrigation due to unintentionally using tap water that contained a highly fatal amoeba. Please, be smart and use properly treated water. As long as you do that you have nothing to worry about.

You should also ensure that your neti pot is clean and properly dried after each use.  Think of it like any other hygienic tool: if it’s not clean, it can’t properly clean you.

Here’s to better breathing and clearer cavities!