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April 27, 2021
April 27, 2021

Long-term effects of coronavirus (long COVID)

For some people, coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause symptoms that may last weeks or potentially months after your infection has gone. This is also known as post-COVID-19 syndrome or “long COVID”.


About long COVID

How long it takes patients to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody.

Most feel better in a few days or weeks after and most will make a full recovery within a few months. But for some people, longer term symptoms can continue for several months.

Older people, women, and those who had five or more symptoms in the first week of becoming ill with Covid-19 are more likely to develop long Covid although at the same time the chances of having long-term symptoms does not appear to be linked to how ill you are.

Unfortunately, people who have had mild symptoms at first can still have longer-term problems down the line.

A recent King’s College London survey found that one in 20 people with COVID-19 had symptoms for at least two months: risk factors included age, female sex, asthma, and a greater number of symptoms in the acute disease.

10% of 18-49 yr olds who get Covid-19, get Long COVID. This increases to 22% of people over 70.

The researchers also found people with asthma were also more likely to develop long Covid. This was the only clear link they found to existing health conditions in people who developed long Covid.


Symptoms of long COVID

There are lots of symptoms you can have after a COVID-19 infection.

Some of the common long COVID symptoms include:

  • Fatigue – extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles in hands, feet or limbs ( paraesthesia )
  • Joint pains
  • Mental health problems including depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus and earache
  • Nausea – feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • Persistent daily high temperatures, cough, headaches, sore throat
  • Changes to sense of smell or taste
  • Rashes

Where to seek help

If your symptoms persist, our team at ZoomDoc can guide you through what is normal and what is to be expected as part of your recovery. Conversely, our doctors will let you know when to be concerned and how to seek additional help.

The NHS has set up long covid clinics and support services in every part of the UK. Your NHS GP will be able to guide and refer you to these specialised clinics in your locality if the symptoms above are persisting. NICE (National institute of clinical excellence) have set up pathways for healthcare professionals to follow and for those that need additional support as part of their recovery.

Recovery Resources

There are multiple resources now available for both adults and children who may be suffering from long covid. Some useful resources and support groups that our team at ZoomDoc recommend include:

Want to know more?

Our team of Doctors are available via the ZoomDoc App for any medical questions or queries.