How long should you wait to exercise after a coronavirus diagnosis?

COVID-19 impacts body beyond just the lungs

DETROIT – We’ve heard about many athletes and highly active people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus.

As people look to reengage with normal activities -- a return to sports is on peoples minds.

WDIV′s Dr. Frank McGeorge has new recommendations for people looking to return to playing sports after having the coronavirus.

One thing that’s become apparent with coronavirus is that it affects the body far beyond the lungs. The heart in particular can be damaged without a person even being aware of it.

That’s why the American College of Cardiology just published an expert opinion on resuming sports in the era of coronavirus.

The guidelines for returning to play for competitive athletes and highly active people after a coronavirus diagnosis relies on the degree of symptoms a person had during their infection.

If a person is hospitalized with coronavirus and they have evidence of heart injury by a commonly used blood test called troponin they should be restricted from exercise for 3 to 6 months while the inflammation resolves.

For hospitalized people with normal heart blood tests they should rest without exercise until symptoms resolve -- then have a medical evaluation after an additional two weeks of recovery without exercise.

For people with mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization it’s still recommended that you rest without exercise while you have symptoms as well as an additional two weeks after recovery followed by an evaluation by a medical provider for clearance to return to activity.

Finally, people who test positive but have no symptoms are encouraged to rest for two weeks without exercise from the positive test date.

No matter what group you fall in, if you are diagnosed with coronavirus -- even after you have been cleared to return to athletics -- you should slowly resume activity over a period of two weeks.

The American College of Cardiology Council that wrote the guidelines does acknowledge that there is currently limited data to rely on. That’s why they are being very conservative in their approach.

About the Authors

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.

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