Long Covid- What do we know?

The majority of covid sufferers recover within 2 weeks, some report symptoms weeks and up to months later.

NICE have defined this as:

Acute infection - Signs and symptoms for up to 4 weeks

Ongoing symptomatic - Signs and symptoms for 4-12 weeks

Post covid syndrome - Signs and symptoms present for more than 12 weeks

Currently there is a lack of research and prolonged long term effects are unknown as covid is a novel disease.

However what is known is the initial phase can cause pneumonia and respiratory failure which can result in permanent scarring of the lungs, there is also a knock on effect on other body systems which can cause prolonged symptoms.

Common symptoms of long covid

  • Respiratory - breathlessness, cough

  • Cardiovascular - chest tightness, pain, palpitations

  • General - Fatigue, fever, pain, ‘brain fog’, headaches

  • Musculoskeletal - joint and muscle pain

  • Also can have abdominal, neurological, psychological, and dermatological issues

Everyone is different and there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between how unwell someone was initially and the presence of ‘long covid’. It has been found to be more common in women, the older generation and those who initially had a varied presentation. Long covid is not contagious.

If you are worried and you have symptoms ongoing for 4 weeks or more it is recommended to contact your GP for advice and you may be referred on to a specialist clinic.

There are many ways you can aid your recovery

  • Pace yourself during daily tasks and exercise. Break tasks down into manageable chunks. Take regular breaks, consider your energy levels.

  • Mood boosters - be kind to yourself ,connect with others, daily routine, stay active

  • Listen to your body - rest when it’s needed

  • ‘Thinking’ exercises to aid brain fog and stimulation

  • ‘Tummy’ breathing

  • Rise your tummy as you breath in right to the bottom of your ribs

  • Relaxed breath out

  • Rest and pause

  • Repeat

  • Recovery breathing for breathlessness

  • In through your nose and out through a pursed lip mouth

  • Forward lean in sitting or standing

  • Focus on long breath out

  • Exercise - This can be a very important part of your recovery.

  • Start gently and gradually build up. You will need to try and continue gentle exercise to maintain your muscle mass.

  • Short walks

  • Stretches

  • Simple strength exercises

  • Low level pilates/yoga

Please seek advice from a medical professional if required and remember what is right for one person may not be right for all

Resources and references

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