Long Covid: How long do long Covid symptoms last? Doctor calls for clinic extension

GMB: Kate grills Hancock on reviewing long Covid-19 symptoms

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Long Covid has impacted millions in the UK. There is no explanation to outline why for some people symptoms last for weeks or months after the infection has gone. Long Covid can last for several days, weeks or even months. But how long exactly does long Covid last?

What is long Covid?

Long Covid is a term used to describe lingering coronavirus symptoms which persist weeks or months beyond the initial illness.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) defines long Covid as lasting for more than 12 weeks.

Some people, however, consider symptoms lasting more than eight weeks as long enough to be classed as long Covid.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data in December suggesting one in 10 people infected with coronavirus experience symptoms for three months or longer.

On April 1, the ONS published a new report on long Covid which outlined in the four weeks to March 6, an estimated 1.1 million people in private homes reported experiencing long Covid symptoms.

Self-reported long coronavirus symptoms were adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of 674,000 people in private households in the UK, with 196,000 of these individuals reporting that their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities had been limited a lot.

Of individuals with self-reported long Covid, 697,000 first had Covid at least 12 weeks before and 70,000 had COVID-19 at least one year before.

Long Covid prevalence rates were greatest in people aged 35 to 69, females, and those living in the most deprived areas.

Of those participants in the study who tested positive, symptom prevalence at 12-weeks post-infection was higher for women at 14.7 percent than men at 12.7 percent.

The rate was highest in those aged 25 to 24 at 18.2 percent.

In addition, rates were highest for those working in health or social care, and those with a pre-existing, activity-limiting health condition.

The ONS could not conclusively prove these patterns were due to associated risk.

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Symptoms of long Covid may include the following:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (‘brain fog’)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus, earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • Rashes.

The chair of the National Long Covid Taskforce has revealed specialist clinics designed to help long Covid patients may be needed for “much longer” than current funding permits.

NHS England spent £34m on 84 specialist clinics since the pandemic began.

Dr Kiren Collison said the service may need to be extended beyond April 2022.

Dr Collison told Sky News: “We recognise this is a condition where the symptoms can be quite prolonged and we’ve already seen that from the patients who got long Covid a year ago, some people are still suffering, so there is that sort of time frame to bear in mind.

“We suspect it may need to go on much longer than that.”

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