Long Covid is a term currently used to describe the long-term effects people are suffering from after the COVID-19 virus, longer than the official 2-week infectious period of the initial illness. The physical and mental impact of these symptoms not only affect the person, but also friends, family and carers supporting them.
No -one will experience exactly the same symptoms or severity of symptoms of long COVID. However, there are many common symptoms which have been reported. This spectrum of problems can include fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, reduced fitness, difficulty moving due to joint and muscle pain, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, ‘brain fog’, and ability to carry out everyday activities (e.g. washing, dressing or returning to work). These may be in addition to the initial symptoms of persistent cough, fever, and loss of taste and smell.
In December 2020, the Office for National Statistics released data showing that 1 in 5 infected had symptoms for over 5 weeks, and 1 in 10 had symptoms for 12 weeks or longer.
The COVID-19 symptom study found that long COVID can affect ANYONE, but some things can raise the risk. Around 22% of over 70’s who have contracted COVID-19 will go onto develop long COVID. It has been highlighted that one of the greatest risk factors is having a larger number of symptoms when initially having the virus. Being overweight has been found to play a role in developing long COVID, and there is also some indication that more females suffer with long COVID. There has also been a clear indication that underlying respiratory conditions, in particular asthma, can contribute to an increased risk.
Although studies into physiotherapy approaches for long COVID are in the pipeline, there is extensive research to support physiotherapy in the treatment of the symptoms associated with long COVID sufferers including shortness of breath, fatigue management, reduced fitness, joint pain and muscle weakness.
Our team of physiotherapists are able to treat Long Covid, learn more by clicking here