About long COVID
For some people, coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or "long COVID".
How long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody.
Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.
The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19.
If you notice that your initial COVID-19 symptoms have changed, it's important to speak to a health professional, such as your GP, a pharmacist or a '111' operator, to get advice.
Please note that you need to contact your GP for specific help with long COVID.
Have a chat with one of our Keeping Well practitioners if you are not sure about your symptoms. We can also give you guidance on where to go for more help.
Some people who have had COVID-19 do not get better as quickly as expected, even those who were not severely ill. Many people are finding they are still unwell more than 4 weeks after the start of their infection, and some develop new problems over several weeks. Long COVID is one term that has been used to describe these symptoms, which can change and come and go over time.
Long COVID is very new and not much is known about it, which can make it hard for people to get care when they need it and for healthcare professionals to know how best to help people. To tackle this, NICE, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have worked together on these guidelines.
We will keep updating this information as we find out more about long COVID.
A booklet has been produced about long COVID that gives more detail about what the guidelines say about caring for people with long COVID. The information covers:
- What long COVID is and how to tell if you have it.
- How symptoms will be assessed and tests you might be offered.
- How your care will be planned, and who will be involved.
- What may help your symptoms, including things you can do yourself or how rehabilitation could help.
- Follow-up appointments.
- Where to find more information.
If you're in the throes of long Covid, it might sometimes be difficult to be hopeful about recovering. But keep in mind the following:
- 80% of people who have ongoing symptoms of Covid get better with self-help advice
- Because of variability in symptoms with Covid, there can be an impact on work, social ife and home life BUT most people find that symptoms abate and normal functioning returns
- The first 6 weeks is around rest and recovery, but after that, you should focus on pacing (i.e. taking rest breaks when symptoms are particularly bad), managing symptoms and functional restoration.
Resources to help your recovery
The pandemic has impacted all of our lives, and it is completely normal that your mental wellbeing may have been affected. You may be feeling anxious, stressed, low, or have experienced trauma. It is important to know that you are not alone and that there are many different support pathways out there to help.
This NHS website has lots of support videos available to watch that can help you learn coping strategies and understand your feelings better, categorised by the following:
- Anxiety & Panic
- Low Mood
- Reactions to Trauma
For further support to help you manage anxiety and fear, click here to learn about why you might still be feeling anxious after recovering from Covid-19, and strategies you can implement in your day-to-day life that can alleviate those feelings. Explore our dedicated section on Anxiety here.
Low mood can persist after having Covid-19. Click here to learn about the common emotional and physical indicators of low mood, how to manage it, and additional support resources and services for your low mood. Explore our dedicated section on Low Mood here.
If you have any questions or would like to explore other support options available to you, you can chat to a member of the team by clicking the button below.
There are lots of symptoms you can have after a COVID-19 infection. Are you experiencing any of the symptoms below?
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Brain fog
- Heart palpitations
- Pins and needles
- Joint pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Tinnitus or earaches
- A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat or changes to your sense of smell/taste
- Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches or loss of appetite
The best strategy to avoid long COVID is to avoid contracting COVID in the first place. The best defence we have is vaccination which has proved very effective to protect you from contracting COVID or developing severe disease which is a known risk factor for long COVID. If you have not been vaccinated you can book here or find a walk-in clinic here
Long COVID Video Series
Our Derby OT colleagues have developed a series of free videos on Long COVID. The videos include:
- rehabilitation from Long COVID
- manager's advice to support employees returning to work