More cases of Long Covid are being reported to the NHS – with around 186,000 people suffering problems for up to 12 weeks after testing positive.
But what should you do if you believe you are experiencing Long Covid symptoms?
There were around 970,000 people living with the condition in the UK by the end of August 2021, Office for National Statistics Figures show.
The medical community has since expressed rising fears that the virus could be leaving a lasting impact on sufferers’ physical and mental health.
Dr Emma Broughton, who works as a GP in York, claimed “one of the biggest” problems with Long Covid is that not enough people know the warning signs.
With that in mind, these are the steps you can take through the NHS.
What to do if you think you have Long Covid
The NHS is advising anyone who is concerned to contact their GP in the first instance.
People are urged to contact a GP if they are still experiencing symptoms four weeks or more after having Covid-19.
Depending on your prognosis, doctors will be able to offer advice or put you on the specific pathway for Long Covid help.
A spokesperson for the NHS said there is no one-size fits all approach to Long Covid because symptoms can vary – or symptoms could actually be related to another healthcare condition.
There are a number of Long Covid clinics across England so there’s a chance you may get referred to one of these specialist centres.
All the symptoms of Long Covid
Long Covid – which develops after a coronavirus infection – does not need a past positive test or strong, recognisable symptoms for a diagnosis.
There are lots of symptoms you can have after a COVID-19 infection – from vertigo or dizziness to a long-lasting cough.
Common long COVID symptoms can include:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Heart palpitations
- 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
Many places in the UK are benefitting from Long Covid clinics. Your area may be one of those with support available, once referred.
Patients can only access Long Covid services if they are referred by a GP or another healthcare professional – so get checked out!
Dr Graham Burns, clinical lead at the Long Covid centre at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, said: “In the first wave of the pandemic many people did not recover as quickly as they’d expected. We had no idea what long covid was – the world had never seen Covid-19 before. We set up the clinic in Newcastle to support patients, but it has also been invaluable in helping us understand what Long Covid is.”
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