Health Tips: Reducing the risks of long COVID-19


The phrase “that’s the long and short of it,” meaning something is summed up precisely, wandered into our lexicon via Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” in which Mistress Quickly uses the phrase turned around, “this is the short and long of it.”

Well, that original version works very well today when we’re talking about making short shrift of the dangers of long COVID-19.

Initial research published in Frontiers of Medicine reveals that hospitalized patients who seemingly recover from severe COVID-19 run more than double the risk of dying within the next year, compared to those with moderate symptoms who weren’t hospitalized or who never caught the illness. And now, a second study shows that patients hospitalized for COVID-19 with the most severe systemic inflammation have a 61% greater hazard of dying of any cause within one year of leaving the hospital than patients with the lowest markers for inflammation. 

The short of it, however, is that the research also shows some of long COVID-19’s risks can be countered. How? By prescribing anti-inflammatory steroids when patients leave the hospital. That appears to reduce their risk of death in the following months by up to 51%.

This is an important step in understanding that COVID-19 often acts like a chronic disease. The knowledge may lead to ways to reduce the risk for later cardiovascular problems and brain dysfunction. So, if you have a serious COVID-19 infection, ask your doc if you should receive a steroid -- or even an aspirin -- routinely for the next few weeks. 

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email


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