Long Covid is a condition in which the effects of Covid-19 continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness. It is early to understand this condition, but the evidence is accumulating that it may be widespread. One early study in Hong Kong suggested that 80% of hospitalised patients had symptoms of Long Covid 6 months post-discharge. In the UK, it is estimated that 14% of Covid cases lead to symptoms that last for longer than 3 months and in 90% of these cases, the original symptoms were not severe enough to require hospitalisation.
Broadly Long Covid symptoms fall into three main categories. There are those with impaired cognitive or brain function. This may include impairment of mood, memory or the feeling of ‘brain fog’. The second group includes poor exercise tolerance, which may involve shortness of breath or fatigue with minimal activity. An upset in the automatic or autonomic nervous system causes the final group of symptoms. This leads to symptoms such as dizziness, indigestion or palpitations.
The symptoms of Long Covid may change over time, and individuals can move between the symptoms above. The lack of a specific test makes the diagnosis of Long Covid challenging. Unfortunately, the politicisation of the pandemic and the misinformation and disinformation around treatments and vaccines has also polarised opinions around some Long Covid research.
As with our Covid-19 communications, at OT&P we remain committed to providing a balance evidence-based analysis of Long Covid research. We have set up a resource centre to provide ongoing updates on Long Covid research. Please click here if you want to subscribe to our Long Covid resources. If you have any research or articles you would like to share, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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