While most people recover fairly quickly from COVID-19, it’s estimated that around 10% of people continue to experience symptoms which last for many months.
Sufferers report feeling fatigued, struggling with their breathing, and experiencing brain fog and difficulty concentrating.
While long COVID, as this condition has been coined isn’t fully understood, doctors are continually working to find out more about the impact COVID-19 has on the body, and why some of us struggle to recover more than others.
So, what is long COVID, how long does it last and is there a way to know if you have it?
Long COVID can affect people in different ways. For some it might be a case of mostly feeling more tired than normal. For others, they might experience a host of symptoms.
What is long covid?
For some people, COVID-19 causes symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is known as post-COVID-19 syndrome or "long COVID".
How long it takes to recover the initial infection of COVID-19 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, the symptoms can last for a lot longer.
The chance of experiencing long COVID doesn’t seem to be linked to how sick you are when you first get COVID-19 so it’s not guaranteed that you will experience long COVID if you were particularly unwell or, conversely, that you will avoid long COVID because you had a mild illness.
GP waiting times for blood tests in London are increasing in many practices, and appointments for non-urgent care more difficult to access, private blood testing is becoming a common alternative for many people looking to take control of their health.
What are the symptoms of long COVID?
Long COVID can affect people in different ways. For some it might be a case of mostly feeling more tired than normal. For others, they might experience a host of symptoms, including:
- a high temperature
- changes to sense of smell or taste
- chest pain or tightness
- depression and anxiety
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- heart palpitations
- joint pain
- pins and needles
- problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- tinnitus, earaches
How long does long COVID last?
Scientists and doctors are still learning about the long-term effects of COVID-19 and more information is being discovered constantly.
Currently, we simply don’t know how long long COVID lasts as the experience can vary so greatly from one person to another.
COVID-19 is like other viruses in that the aftereffects of the illness can be prolonged, so this isn’t specific to coronavirus. But we are still learning about the particular traits of long COVID.
Some reports have indicated recovery times as long as 12 months, but this can vary greatly, dependent on many factors.
Is there a test for long COVID?
While there isn’t a specific long COVID test, there are checks and tests which are helpful in diagnosing the conditions associated with long covid. Those, combined with the knowledge that you were infected with the disease, are a good indicator that you are experiencing long COVID.
If you think you’re experiencing long COVID, and want to find out more, talk to our team about the range of blood tests available in London. Understanding your current health status means you can get on the right track to feeling better, choosing the right vitamins, supplements or treatments needed to help optimise your health, as well as understanding if there is another underlying condition to be aware of.
Convenient local long COVID testing in London
Our central London walk in clinic makes getting your private London blood test quick and convenient. Simply purchase your test online and attend the clinic on the same day.
At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.