A new study shows that COVID-19 reinfections, as common as they are, can pose new and lasting health problems.

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist who led the research at Washington University in St. Louis, said that he wanted to study the increasing reinfections after seeing it become common among his own patients.

“If you asked me about reinfection maybe a year and a half ago, I would tell you that maybe I have a patient here or there,” Al-Aly told CNN. But that's not the case anymore.

“So we asked a simple question that if you got Covid before and now you’re on your second infection, does this really add risk? And the simple answer is that it does," he said, referencing the study, which is being peer-reviewed.

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“It is possible that sicker individuals or people with immune dysfunction are at higher risk of reinfection and adverse health outcomes after reinfection,” Al-Aly added.

Here are five signs that your COVID-19 infection may require medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
  • New confusion.
  • Inability to wake or stay awake.
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds.

Meanwhile, vaccines still reduce the risk of infection, as Dr. Ashish Jha said during the COVID-19 Response Coordination press conference last week.

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“Our existing vaccines continue to provide robust protection against serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths. And because protection wanes over time, it is crucial for people to get a booster to stay up to date,” said Jha, adding that those who are over 50 or severely immunocompromised should get vaccinated right away.

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