What is Long Covid and where can I get support and treatment?

What is Long Covid and where can I get support and treatment?

After contracting COVID-19 it can take up to 12 weeks for your symptoms to disappear and for you to make a full recovery from the virus. For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. Symptoms that go on longer than12 weeks are known as ‘Long Covid’.

The chances of having long-term symptoms are not linked to how ill you were when you first got COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of Long Covid?

There are wide-ranging symptoms of Long Covid, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose. Everyone’s condition and symptoms are slightly different. 

The main symptoms are the same asCOVID-19:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes to the sense of taste or smell
  •  Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle ache
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Memory Loss
  • High temperature
  • Sore throat
  • Additional symptoms fall into one of three main categories:

Physical symptoms

  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Breathlessness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Tinnitus or earache
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches or loss of appetite 


Cognitive issues

  • Memory problems
  • Concentration problems (‘brain fog’)
  • Depression and anxiety



  • Extreme tiredness
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Needing a lot more sleep than normal


When should I contact my doctor?

Advice from the NHS suggests you contact your doctor if you are worried about continuing symptoms more than four weeks after having COVID-19.

To contact your GP surgery, you can:

  • Visit their website
  • Call them
  • Use the NHS app

Your doctor will need to rule out other causes for your symptoms and may wish to conduct some tests before reaching their diagnosis. These tests can include blood tests or an x-ray. 

How will I know if I have Long Covid?

Unfortunately, there is currently no standard test for Long Covid. 

People suspected of having Long Covid are diagnosed by ruling out the more common causes of their symptoms. 

What causes Long Covid?

Long Covid is a relatively new condition, so we don’t know very much about its causes yet. 

Several different things are likely to cause such a wide range of symptoms in people. 

Who is most likely to get Long Covid?

We have only recently started tracking Long Covid. However, over 1.8 million people in the UK have symptoms for more than four weeks. 

The condition is most common in:

35 to 49-year-olds


People with underlying health conditions which limit their normal activity levels

People working in health, social care or education 

People who are living in poorer areas across the country. 

Your COVID Recovery

The NHS has launched an online resource called ‘Your COVID Recovery’ which is available in two parts.


The first part of the platform is designed to offer advice and guidance to support your physical and emotional recovery if you have Long COVID symptoms. You will need to get a referral from your doctor to access this online resource.


The second part of the Your COVID Recovery resource can be accessed following referral from a Post COVID Service. Through this platform you can get advice and support from health care professionals on your mental health, physical activity, managing your symptoms and diet. You’ll also be able to track your symptoms and set goals.

Visit the Your COVID Recovery website

Tell us your story

If you’ve had Long Covid, then help us improve services and support by telling us about your experience.


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