The Mayo Clinic says: “COVID-19 symptoms can sometimes persist for months. The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems.” It notes that some people’s signs and symptoms can linger over time and include depression and anxiety.
The organisation notes that people who have severe symptoms of COVID-19 often have to be treated in a hospital’s intensive care unit, with mechanical assistance such as ventilators to breathe.
It explains: “Simply surviving this experience can make a person more likely to later develop post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and anxiety.”
Other signs include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Joint pain
- Chest pain
- Memory, concentration or sleep problems
- Muscle pain or headache
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Loss of smell or taste
- Dizziness when you stand
- Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities
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The NHS advice on long Covid says people who are recovering from an illness often report feeling a little better each day, and it can take time to fully recover.
It says: “With Long Covid you may feel fatigued after activities which were not previously difficult to cope with and this can affect your quality of life and ability to function as you did previously. This is more likely to occur at the end of the day or at the end of a busy week.
“Sometimes people experience a number of other symptoms worsening after physical stress. This could include brain fog, muscle aches or headaches alongside increased fatigue.
“Clinicians may call these ‘post exertional symptoms’. They are not in themselves dangerous but can affect your quality of life.”
The Mayo Clinic says although COVID-19 is seen as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can also damage many other organs, including the heart, kidneys and the brain.
It states: “Organ damage may lead to health complications that linger after COVID-19 illness.
“In some people, lasting health effects may include long-term breathing problems, heart complications, chronic kidney impairment, stroke and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis.
“Some adults and children experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome after they have had COVID-19. In this condition, some organs and tissues become severely inflamed.”
There is also some suggestion that a vaccine can help reduce long Covid symptoms.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “In research published in October 2021, the Office for National Statistics used data from the UK Coronavirus Infection Survey to look at the association between COVID-19 vaccination and long Covid in people who already had it before the vaccine.”
The researchers found that the first vaccine was associated with an initial 13 percent decrease in the likelihood of self-reported long Covid. The second dose was associated with a nine percent decrease in the likelihood of self-reported long Covid, relative to having received the first vaccination, and there was statistical evidence of a sustained improvement after this.
The BHF states: “Which vaccine was used (Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna) didn’t appear to make any difference to the results. Nor did the person’s age, ethnic background, gender or other health issues.”