For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or "Long COVID".

How long it takes to recover from coronavirus 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 coronavirus.

Information to support your COVID recovery

COVID-19 continues to pose a serious risk to public health. There is a lot of misinformation that undermines our collective fight against the virus, so it is important you get the facts from a trusted source to keep yourselves safe, protect the NHS and ultimately, save lives.

Please know that you are not alone, according to Office for National Statistics estimates, 1.1 million people in the UK were reporting Long COVID symptoms in the four weeks to 6 March 2021. Long COVID can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if the illness was mild, or they had no symptoms

If you are concerned about your recovery please use the resources below or visit Your COVID Recovery | Supporting your recovery after COVID-19 if you are still concerned then contact your GP for advice.

 


Respitatory illnesses, such as COVID-19, can cause breathlessness both during and whilst recovering. How you think and feel about breathing is important, it can affect our daily activities as well as our health and wellbeing. There are multiple approaches that can be used to tackle breathlessness, the main one being breathing techiques. This leaflet offers five different exercises used to control and settle your breathing, please see here. Alternatively, please click here for an insightful video on respiratory care that includes a walkthrough on positional advice.

Other useful links:

Helplines: Asthma expert nurse helpline - 0300 222 5800

In order to stop any food or fluid entering the lungs, our natural instinct is to hold our breath, however, Covid can make this difficult. If you find that COVID has affected your breathing, you may need to take action to help manage your coordination of breathing and swallowing. ‘Your Covid Recovery’ offers useful advice to ensure your breathlessness does not affect your eating or drinking whilst you are unwell. Please click here to view.

Whilst recovering from Covid you may still experience a dry cough for some time which, if left unmanaged, can cause irritation and inflammation. It can be very difficult to control your cough, but for your airways to stay clear it is important that you keep practising. Please see here for a helpful guide on breathing exercises.

If you are struggling to eat enough, or if you are losing weight or strength in your muscles, you may need to think differently about the foods you are eating. This leaflet provides important tips to help you get the most out of the foods you eat while you are unwell and may help you to regain some of the weight or strength you have lost. The malnutrition pathway website has produced a useful guide to follow. Click here to view.

Other useful links:

  1. Eating Well
  2. Nutrition Support
  3. Your Covid recovery – taste and smell
  4. Your Covid Recovery – eating well 

Fear, worry, and stress are natural reactions to potential or actual threats especially during times when we are faced with uncertainty and the unknown. As a result, people's anxiety in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is normal and understandable. Many of us are struggling with how the virus is affecting ourselves and our loved ones, but please remember that you are not alone. The Mental Health Foundation website offers multiple resources to help us stay informed on what we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such difficult times. For more information, please click here.

Other useful links:

  1. Your Covid recovery – managing fear and anxiety
  2. MIND
  3. British Lung Foundation – How can I manage my anxiety?
  4. Change, Loss ad Bereavement 

Helplines:

  1. Mind - 0300 123 3393
  2. The Samaritans - 116 123 (free) or email jo@samaritans.org.uk 24 hours
  3. Shout Crisis Text Line - text ‘Shout’ to 85258
  4. Re-think Mental Illness - Mon-Fri 10am – 2pm, 0300 5000 927

Have you been feeling tired and exhausted despite getting plenty of sleep and rest? It is normal to feel tired from time to time but if this has been happening for an extended period, it is more than likely that you are suffering from post-viral fatigue. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists offer useful advice and activities on how to increase energy levels and gradually stabilise your body. Please see link here on how to manage post-viral fatigue after Covid-19. 

Other useful links:

  1. College of Occupational Therapy – How to conserve your energy
  2. Your Covid Recovery – fatigue
  3. Your Covid Recovery – sleeping well

It is common to experience physical problems whilst recovering from Covid-19, this could include muscle weakness and joint stiffness, fatigue, as well as reduced mobility. If you feel that you are struggling to remain as active as you once were, please see CPS’ leaflet that provides six easy to follow exercises to help rebuild your muscle strength. Please click here to view.

Other useful links:

  1. Your Covid recovery – returning to work

Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 have reported feeling not like themselves: experiencing short-term memory loss, confusion, or an inability to concentrate. Problems with attention and concentration can make it hard to focus and ignore distractions day-today, therefore it is important that we manage these difficulties. Please see useful advice here on Pacing, Planning and Prioritising your daily activities.

Urinary incontinence is a common problem affecting around 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men, therefore it is not something that anyone should ‘just live with’. Continence is a sensitive subject that can make people feel embarrassed, but it is a treatable medical condition and there is always help available. BCHC provide a service delivered by specialist continence nurses, who deliver bladder and bowel clinics in community settings. Do not suffer in silence, for more information please click here, or alternatively please email bchnt.continencereferrals@nhs.net.

Other useful links:

  1. National Association for Continence - resources


This video tells the story of Long COVID sufferer Dom Zabawa:
 



Watch Ruth Williams, who leads Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust community and primary care teams, talk about how people are suffering from this condition...
 


A well-known Sandwell resident has spoken out about the severe impact of ‘Long COVID’ on his life.

West Bromwich’s Blind Dave, a man known for taking on the physical challenges presented by marathons, has been experiencing the effects of Long COVID, since first coming down with the virus just before Christmas 2020.

Please click here to read the full article.