Increasing medical evidence and patient testimony is showing that a small but significant minority of people who contract Covid cannot shake off the effects of the virus months after initially falling ill – also known as ‘Long Covid’.
What is Long Covid?
Symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pains, chest pains, palpitations, “brain fog” and anxiety that continue for more than 12 weeks. The symptoms can overlap, fluctuate and change over time so people can seem to be getting better, then get worse again. Most people get better slowly over time, but need lots of rest.
How common is it?
Of those who have had a positive test for Covid, it has been estimated that 13.7% continued to experience symptoms for at least 12 weeks. It is estimated that long Covid symptoms could be adversely affecting day-to-day-activities of 8,000 people in Leeds.
Who is at greater risk of it?
Long Covid is more commonly reported among people aged 35 to 69 years, females, people from more deprived areas, those with pre-existing health conditions and among health and social care workers. Some of this difference might be because some groups have had a higher chance of getting initial Covid infection.
Covid has a disproportionate effect on certain parts of the population, including older people, care home residents, those living in deprived areas, and people from black and ethnic minority communities. Long Covid is likely to amplify existing inequalities.
How can people access help and support?
Anyone struggling with ongoing symptoms should consult their GP.
There is lots of useful information on recovering from Covid available here:
A self-care resource to help people in Covid recovery is also available here: www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk