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Long COVID explained.

I’ve heard of ‘long COVID’, but what exactly is it?

COVID-19 affects everybody differently. For some people, it may cause symptoms that last for weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes known as ‘long COVID’. You may feel the effects of long COVID even if you only had mild symptoms at first.

Do I have long COVID?

There are many symptoms you can have after having COVID-19 and you do not have to have all of them to be suffering from long COVID. The most common ones are:

  • extreme tiredness
  • chest pain or tightness in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • problems with memory and concentration (‘Brain Fog’)
  • heart palpitations
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • earache or tinnitus
  • feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat
  • changes to your sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

If I think I have long COVID, what should I do?

If you are worried about your symptoms 4 weeks or more after having COVID, you should contact your GP. They will ask about your symptoms and how they are affecting you.

You may be given advice on how to manage the symptoms at home.

The GP may suggest some tests such as blood tests, checking your blood pressure and heart rate and a chest x-ray to find out exactly how long COVID is affecting you.

If long COVID is having a big impact on your life, you may be referred to a clinic that specialises in your particular symptoms so that you can get the support you need.

What can I do to manage my symptoms of long COVID at home?

The Your COVID Recovery website is full of information to support you with your recovery from COVID-19. It has step-by-step tips to help you understand, manage and improve each long COVID symptom affecting both your body and your mind.

What if long COVID is affecting my ability to work?

If long COVID is affecting your ability to work, there is advice for employees and employers on the ACAS website.

Where can I find more information and support?

More information on the long-term effects of COVID, and how to manage them, can be found on the NHS website and at Your COVID Recovery.