While recovering from COVID-19 it’s important to take it easy, even if you’ve had a light case of the disease. While most children, adolescents, and young adults recover from COVID-19 uneventfully, a very small percentage of young people develop cardiovascular complications that could make returning to sports and exercise dangerous. It’s impossible to predict during the acute infection who will develop late complications.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that all children, adolescents, and young adults see a physician for a clearance exam after their isolation period is over, prior to returning to exercise and sports.
An exercise and sports clearance exam should be scheduled after the fever has been gone for over 24 hours (while NOT taking fever-reducing medication), AND at least 10 days after COVID-19 was diagnosed.*
A physician cannot clear anyone for return to exercise and sports until after he or she is free of COVID symptoms like cough, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue.
It is vitally important that you let your doctor know if you are experiencing any symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, new or worsening heart palpitations (racing or irregular heartbeat), fainting, or any other new and persisting symptoms.
Your return to Exercise and sports exam will include a thorough exam and history with a focus on the heart and lungs, measurement of key vital signs, and in some cases, an Electrocardiogram (ECG). Those who have had a severe case of COVID-19 or have new or persisting symptoms may need to be referred to a Cardiologist to get clearance.
When you come in for your exercise and sports clearance exam, please answer the following questions and bring this questionnaire with you:
In the past week, have you had any of the following?:
- Chest Pain
- Palpitations (Irregular Heartbeat or heart racing without exercising)
- More than usual fatigue while doing activities of normal daily living
- Shortness of breath out of proportion to your activity
- Awakening with shortness of breath or trouble breathing (other than mild nasal symptoms due to nasal congestion)
- Fainting or near-fainting
- Worsening or unresolved COVID-19 symptoms, or new symptoms since having COVID-19
*If you had a very mild case of COVID-19, you currently have no symptoms, and you’ve had a sports clearance exam within a year, you may only need a telemedicine visit. If you are symptom-free and you have already returned to sports no further action is required, but we would like to know you’re doing OK. Please let us know!