Long Covid (Post Covid 19 syndrome)   

Stages of Covid

  • 1-4 weeks- Acute Covid- many people better in a few days or weeks
  • 4-12 weeks- Ongoing Symptomatic Covid (1in5)- most fully recovered within 12 weeks
  • Longer than 12 weeks- Post Covid 19 syndrome (1-10)- ongoing covid symptoms not explained by an alternative diagnosis
  • Long Covid encompasses on-going and post covid periods of illness

Reported symptoms can be complex and vary:

  • Generalised Symptoms: Fatigue, Fever and Pain
  • Respiratory System:  Breathlessness and Cough
  • Cardiovascular System: Chest pain/tightness and palpitations
  • Neurological System: Cognitive Impairment ('brain fog') with difficulty concentrating and memory problems, Headaches, Insomnia, Pins and Needles, Dizziness, Delirium (especially elderly)
  • Gastrointestinal System: Abdominal pain, Nausea, Diarrhoea, Appetite loss
  • Musculoskeletal system: Joint and Muscle pains
  • Psychological/Psychiatric: Depression and Anxiety
  • Ear, Nose and Throat: Tinnitus, Earache, Sore throat, Dizziness, Loss of taste and smell
  • Dermatology: Skin Rashes

 

Actions to Take

It is suggested that you should contact your GP is symptoms last longer than 4 weeks as this may indicate Long Covid.  You may have an examination, some blood tests and Chest Xray, plus other tests to exclude other illnesses. As the symptoms are so varied other causes need to be considered and excluded as the symptoms could relate to any number of other conditions.

Management

There is no one treatment for Long Covid so management will involve a multidisciplinary approach.  Firstly patients may need symptomatic treatment for pain relief, depression and anxiety etc.  Other treatment is support with physical and psychological rehabilitation. Local teams have been set up and may involve Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Counselling.

The Size of the Problem

A recent Lancet article suggested that 1 in 5 patients will have Ongoing symptomatic Covid and 1 in 10 will have Post Covid 19 syndrome.

In Northamptonshire there have been nearly 50,000 covid cases meaning roughly 10,000 will have Ongoing Symptomatic Covid and 5000 will continue into Post Covid 19 syndrome.

This just gives an idea of the potential numbers if we are involved with Long Covid management and support.

Are you still struggling 12 weeks after having coronavirus?

Our Post-COVID-19 syndrome programme is for Covid-19 survivors experiencing continued breathlessness. Online groups take a holistic approach to your recovery and wellbeing so include health professionals, peer support and advice. We also have options to try relaxation techniques and even opera singing as ways to improve anxiety and breathlessness. Please contact us if you want to know more or to attend.

Useful resources

Your COVID recovery

Back to Breathing Space Homepage