Long Covid symptoms: The 14 most common long-term effects
Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus
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An estimated 1.1 million people in the UK experience coronavirus symptoms more than four weeks after their first suspected infection – that’s one in five people who tested positive for the disease. Long Covid (formerly known as a post-Covid syndrome) can cause groups of symptoms such as post-viral fatigue, fluctuating multi-system symptoms, lasting organ damage and post-intensive care symptoms, but what exactly does that look like? Express.co.uk reveals the top 14 symptoms of long covid.
Covid is bad enough for one to two weeks of infection and recovery, but more severe cases can hang in for months in the form of long Covid.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) defines long Covid as lasting more than 12 weeks but other experts say it can last around eight weeks.
Even if you’ve been given the all-clear to finish isolation and you’re testing negative, you may still feel extremely unwell.
Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London has said: “These people may be going back to work and not performing at the top of their game
“There is a whole other side to the virus which has not had attention because of the idea that ‘if you are not dead you are fine.’”
Thanks to research like the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app, which is collecting information about the symptoms of people with Covid or long Covid every single day to find trends, we know a little more about the disease and its long term effects now.
There are lots of symptoms you can have after a COVID-19 infection.
While most people tend to recover from mild Covid within two weeks and more serious Covid in three weeks, some people suffer for much longer.
The team at the ZOE app add: “The virus may cause damage to internal organs, resulting in long-term or potentially permanent health problems
“There currently is little information and support available for people with long-term COVID-19.
“We need to gather ongoing data about the nation’s health to understand the long-term effects of this disease.”
The 14 most common long-term effects
According to the NHS, common long COVID symptoms include:
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- shortness of breath
- chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- heart palpitations
- pins and needles
- joint pain
- depression and anxiety
- tinnitus, earaches
- feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
Of these 14 symptoms, there are four particularly common ones. The Office of National Statistics reports that 51 percent of people with long Covid typically experience fatigue, while 37 percent experience loss of smell.
Following closely behind that we have shortness of breath (36 percent) and difficulty concentrating (28 percent).
Long Covid is often characterised by gradual improvement of symptoms and then feeling worse again in a cycle.
This is true for even the mildest of cases, not just those who were sick enough to go to the hospital.
How to treat long Covid
If you’re experiencing long Covid, you should see your GP to discuss your symptoms and the impact they’re having on your life.
According to the NHS site, your doctor may then suggest some tests to find out more and rule out other things that could be responsible for your symptoms.
This could include blood tests, checking your blood pressure and heart rate, or a chest X-ray.
Depending on your results, your doctor may then give you some advice about how to manage and monitor your symptoms at home.
If the symptoms are having a big impact on your life, you may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service or a service that specialises in the specific symptoms you have to help you recover.
You can find more information and advice about recovering from long Covid on the NHS site here.
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