While coronavirus passes quickly for most, some people are suffering from its long-term effects.
Long Covid is a term used to describe the effects of Covid-19 that continue for months beyond the initial illness, usually lasting for more than 12 weeks.
More details of how many people are affected by long Covid are still emerging, but estimates suggest that around one in seven people who get symptoms from Covid-19 are ill for at least four weeks, one in 20 for eight weeks and one in 45 for twelve weeks or more.
In the initial phase of the illness, severe Covid-19 can cause pneumonia and respiratory failure, which can result in permanent damage and scarring to the lungs. But Covid-19 is not only a lung illness: it can cause other life-changing complications. In particular, because it can increase the risk of blood clots, it can sometimes lead to deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks and strokes.
We sat down with our GP Dr Priyanka to outline the symptoms of long Covid, and some tips to help manage them.
What are the symptoms of long Covid?
Most people who had symptoms recovered quickly and were able to resume their normal lives after a few days. But for some, the effects of the virus can last for weeks or months.
For some, it can seem like a cycle of improving and then getting worse again. These long-term effects aren’t only amongst those who needed go to hospital, or even who felt seriously unwell when they first caught the virus. Lasting symptoms of coronavirus can include:
- anxiety and depression
- chest pains
- joint or muscle pain
- not being able to think straight or focus (‘brain fog’)
Are women at more risk than men?
Dr Priyakna said “Some people are left with long term consequences from contracting Covid-19. Long Covid is more likely to affect more women than men who are”:
- aged 50+
What sort of symptoms where you presented with?
“At Pall Mall Medical, our clinics were temporarily closed earlier this year due to Covid-19, but we continued with telephone and video consultations. The patients I have seen with long Covid are mainly presenting respiratory symptoms for example”:
- shortness of breath
What treatment do you recommend?
“For clients presenting with respiratory complaints, I refer them for chest radiography. As some long Covid patients present lung abnormalities, whilst others heart failure, chest x-rays can help with investigating”.
What do you know about long Covid? Is it still too early for much to be known about it?
As we have been living with this virus for approximately eight months now, doctors are becoming increasingly aware of the symptoms of Covid and Long Covid. The NHS announced that at least 10% of the population are still experiencing symptoms at least 3 weeks post infection. The NHS has also announced new support in place for long Covid patients.
What are the sorts of treatment options available at the moment?
Long Covid patients are given a personalised treatment plan. As many Long Covid patients present different symptoms, this rehabilitation plan will set patients goals for both their mental and physical health and rehab teams will track their progress.
If you are suffering from persistent symptoms of Covid, you should consult with your GP for further treatments available for you. At Pall Mall Medical, we offer telephone and video GP appointments. For more information, click here or call us on 03300 58 44 55.