Long COVID – what is it and what can we do about it?

Now that we are a few months into the current pandemic, there is increasing awareness of the condition known as “long covid”. This is characterised by a long recovery period or inability to recover from a primary COVID-19 infection. The phenomenon so far has no medical definition or list of symptoms shared by all patients and two people with “long covid” can have very different experiences.

Symptoms experienced are varied but include breathlessness, a cough that won’t go away, joint pain, muscle aches, hearing and eyesight problems, headaches, loss of smell and taste as well as damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and gut. However, the most common feature is significant fatigue which occurs following infection with COVID-19, the coronavirus SARS-CoV2. Additionally, others are experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and brain fog.

It is likely that there are multiple factors responsible for symptoms associated with “long covid,” particularly as they are so varied. This blog will discuss the potential factors that are involved in “long covid” and identify potential interventions. It is worth noting that individuals will differ among which ones may be relevant to them and it is likely that multiple or all factors are relevant. This should therefore be considered individually on a case by case basis.