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What is ‘long COVID’? Explaining the long-term effects of COVID-19

Long COVID describes the long-term side effects caused by coronavirus

The condition known as long COVID is used to describe the long-term side effects experienced in people who have contracted coronavirus.

Data from the COVID Symptom Tracker App – used by around 4 million people in the UK – suggests 1 in 50 people are still dealing with symptoms 90 days or more after contracting the virus.

Typical symptoms of long COVID, also known as post-COVID fatigue syndrome, include fatigue, breathlessness, anxiety, depression, palpitations, chest pains, joint or muscle pain, muscle weakness, joint stiffness, a persistent cough, weight loss, memory problems and ‘brain fog’.

The symptoms are very similar to those felt by people living with ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – conditions which result in overwhelming fatigue.

A Kings College London study researching the impact of ‘long COVID’ estimated one in 20 people can be ill with COVID-19 for at least eight weeks – and many much longer than that.

Reports suggest some people with long COVID are even being diagnosed with ME or CFS if their symptoms last longer than three to four months.

However, an ME Association report said long COVID is not the same as ME or CFS – although it does appear to be the same as post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), where
an infection is the trigger for developing the condition.

The British Lung Foundation said it was too early to say whether breathing difficulties seen in people recovering from COVID-19 were caused by the virus itself or by its treatment.

If you are struggling with long COVID symptoms, The Brain Charity can support you. Click here to find contact details for The Brain Charity’s departments.

Categories: Advice, News

Published: 18 March 2021