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What is long COVID?
“Long COVID” means your symptoms carry on even after your COVID infection has resolved.
It can also mean you are having new health problems after your COVID infection.
Most COVID infections get better within the first 4 weeks.
Medical professionals say there are two types of long COVID:
- Ongoing symptomatic COVID: When COVID symptoms carry on for 4 to 12 weeks
- Post-COVID Syndrome: When COVID symptoms carry on for over 12 weeks
If you have long COVID, there are lots of different problems which can change over time. These are the most common problems:
Long COVID Symptoms
Breathing and Chest problems
- Breathlessness – feeling short of breath
- Cough – helps you to clear your lungs and throat
- Chest tightness – when it is difficult to move your chest or take a deep breath
- Chest pain – pain anywhere in the chest
- Palpitations – when you notice your heart beating
- Fatigue – feeling tired all the time
- Fever – when your skin feels hot to the touch
- Pain – when a part of your body hurts
- Find it difficult to focus
- Problems sleeping
- Pins and needles or numbness – which feels like a pricking or tingling on the skin
- Dizziness – when you feel like you are spinning around or you feel like you may faint
- Delirium – when you are unsure about what to do or you cannot understand something clearly or you do not know where you are
- Stomach pain or ache
- Nausea – feeling like you will be sick
- Diarrhoea – loose and watery poo and needing to go to the toilet more often
- Not feeling hungry
- Weight loss
Muscle and bone problems
Mental health and mood problems
- Feeling depressed
- Feeling worried
- Anorexia – when someone tries to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough or exercising too much or both
Ear, nose and throat problems
What should I expect while I am getting better from COVID?
The time it takes for someone to get better from COVID varies from person to person. The length of time a person is ill doesn’t always link to how ill they were when they had COVID or whether they were in hospital.
If new or long lasting problems do occur and you are worried about them, you should seek medical advice and support. For more information please see the When Do I Need To Seek Help page.