Long COVID: What is it?

Long COVID (also known as post-COVID syndrome) consists of symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, which can last for more than 12 weeks after the infection has gone.
woman wearing a mask sitting at computer

What is Long COVID? 

How long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody. 

Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer. 

The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19. 

People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems. 

Symptoms include: 

  • 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

Tell us your story 

Have you or someone you know experienced the long-term effects of Coronavirus? Have these lasted months? 

We want to hear from you so we can help improve the support and services that are available for people suffering from Long COVID in South West London. 

Complete our survey

How do I know I have Long COVID? 

If you have some of the symptoms above, had had them for more than 12 weeks, and noticed that they started after an infection consistent with COVID-19, then it may be Long COVID. If you feel like your condition is not improving, or is preventing you from doing certain things, you should talk to your GP about it. 

What support can I get for Long COVID? 

Depending on your symptoms, different types of support can be available to you.

If you need access to more support or treatment for your Long COVID symptoms, please contact your GP who may refer you to Post COVID services.  

The NHS Your Recovery website is here to help you throughout your COVID recovery. 

The NHS in South West London has also created a webpage to share self-help resources and links to local services that are available to people who are experiencing Long COVID. 

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