'Long Covid' FAQs

People ill with Covid-19 can experience many varied and debilitating symptoms long after the initial virus has passed.
What is ‘Long Covid’?

Long Covid is yet another way in which the Covid-19 virus is different from other viruses like the flu.

Long Covid describes a set of symptoms that continue long after the initial Covid-19 infection has gone. Even people who had relatively moderate Covid-19 at the time can experience long covid symptoms.

Young, fit people can be affected. Newcastle United footballers, for example, Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin are among the most recent to say they have had long-term effects from Covid-19. A British Medical Journal articles has described multiple organ damage in young, fit patients.

Many people suffering from Long Covid are still unable to work at full capacity six months later according to a large-scale survey of patients.

What are the symptoms?

Doctors are in the early stages of understanding this condition and there are a variety of different symptoms affecting may parts of the body. These include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Heart symptoms like chest tightness, chest pain or palpitations
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Cognitive impairment (or 'brain fog', loss of concentration or memory issues)
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Pins and needles and numbness
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Reduced appetite (in older people)
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and earache
  • Loss of taste and/or smell
  • Skin rashes

This is a long list of varied symptoms. Many of them could be caused by other conditions, of course, and doctors will try to rule these out.

What should I do about long covid?

NICE have issued guidelines advising doctors to keep an eye out for Long Covid. If you’ve had the virus, you should keep an eye out too, especially new, ongoing or worsening symptoms more than 4 weeks after the start of Covid-19. Contact your GP.

Anyone hospitalised with Covid-19 should get a follow-up call or appointment six weeks later in part to monitor for Long Covid.  

Date published 21/12/20
Date of last review 08/01/21
Date of next review 15/01/21


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