Info for Healthcare Providers

It can be a challenge to compassionately and effectively care for patients with complex, multi-system illnesses, especially during a pandemic. It’s not surprising that many medical professionals are struggling to diagnose and treat an exploding number of patients exhibiting a wide variety of post-viral complications.

Since most medical textbooks and curriculums don’t include information about ME/CFS, it’s understandable when medical professionals and health care providers need more answers about this complex illness. Thank you for visiting this page and going the extra mile for your patients!

The following resources aim to empower you with the latest information and updates from ME/CFS experts around the country.

Long Covid is also known as Post-COVID syndrome, Long Haulers, Long-term COVID-19, Post-Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS) or LTC-19.

These terms describe a collection of lingering symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath / Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness) or Disabling Fatigue (PEM, PENE)
  • Muscle/joint pain, body aches, or chest pain
  • Headache
  • Sleep Disruption / Unrefreshing Sleep
  • Difficulty with thinking and concentration (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart / large swings in heart rate and blood pressure

Preliminary reports and data about Long COVID symptoms and patient experiences contain many similarities to other chronic illnesses known to be associated with viral triggers, such as:  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), other forms of dysautonomia, and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), just to name a few.

Additional Resources:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Webinar: Treating Long COVID: Clinician Experience with Post-Acute COVID-19 Care (PDF)

Given the similarity in symptoms and the preceding infectious illness, we recommend that you consider a diagnosis of post-viral fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS (ICD-10 93.3) in the differential diagnosis of those patients who remain ill for an extended time following a COVID-19 infection and meet established ME/CFS criteria.”

— The US ME/CFS Clinician Coalition, October 2020

Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) Can Cause Harm!

“ME/CFS patients have also reported harms from graded exercise therapy … exercise can trigger the systemic intolerance to exertion characteristic of ME/CFS and worsen the patient’s condition.”

— The US ME/CFS Clinician Coalition, October 2020

Many studies and reports from people with ME/CFS show that exercise or intense physical exertion at the early stages of illness leads to significantly worse long-term health outcomes and potential disability.  Before considering any recommendations for increased activity level, it is vital that ME/CFS is ruled out as a potential diagnosis to avoid further deteriorating the patient’s health and capacity. Click here for #MEAction’s guide to PACING and activity management.

The Bateman Horne Center has created a fast fact sheet for treating COVID-19 in patients with underlying myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and severe Fibromyalgia (FM). Their recommendations include:

  • Presume the patient is orthostatic and treat as if in “shock” (abnormal perfusion and circulatory failure)
  • Reduce sensory stimuli [sensory stress] as much as possible
  • Assume cognitive impairment [cognitive slowing] is present
  • Use medications thoughtfully and skillfully with close monitoring

US ME/CFS: Clinician Coalition Website:

The U.S. ME/CFS Clinician Coalition is committed to improving clinical care for patients with ME/CFS by advancing best clinical practices, providing education for the medical community, expanding the pool of medical providers with strong expertise in ME/CFS, and providing clinical insights for researchers.

Standard of Care for ME/CFS:

There is currently no FDA approved treatment for ME/CFS. However, here are a number of medications and strategies that may help reduce symptoms. The Bateman Horne Center’s treatment advice includes:

  • Building emotional resilience
  • Achieving the most restorative sleep possible
  • Achieving reasonable pain control
  • Balancing physical pacing with physical conditioning
  • Identifying and treat comorbid conditions

An important strategy for patients to learn is how to manage their activities to avoid triggering post-exertional malaise (PEM).

Where can I receive CME credits for ME/CFS?

Additional Information for


People with ME/CFS

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Long Covid

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COVID-19 Info Center

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