Article By: Rhona Shennan
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The Covid-19 virus can wreck havoc on the body, and can leave some patients dealing with side-effects for months after the initial infection
The long-lasting symptoms of Covid can affect around one in seven people who have tested positive for the virus.
While scientists are still learning about the long-lasting effects, these are the most common symptoms of long Covid that have been reported so far.
1. Extreme tiredness
Extreme tiredness, also known as fatigue, is listed as “very common after viral infections, such as Covid, and normally settles are two or three weeks” by the NHS. A study by the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, fatigue was listed as the most prevalent long Covid symptom, with 98.3 per cent of respondents listing the symptom.
2. Shortness of breath
According to the study by Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, breathing issues was listed as one of the top three most debilitating symptoms of long Covid by patients, with 2,242 out of 3,762 sufferers reporting issues
3. Chest pain or tightness
The NHS says that “experiences of chest pain after Covid can be worrying, but not usually life threatening”, but you should seek medical attention immediately if you experience sudden chest pain which persists for more than 15 minutes, pain that is associated with nausea or vomiting, sweating or shortness of breath, or pain that is associated with loss of consciousness
4. Problems with memory or concentration
The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre study found that 51 per cent of respondents experienced memory issues for at least six months. The NHS says that most people who have had Covid “will recover with no long-term impact on their memory or concentration”.
5. Difficulty sleeping
“Many people recovering from Covid notice their sleep has changed” the NHS says. The NHS recommends developing a bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol and keeping screens (like TVs, phones, laptops) out of the bedroom, in order to improve your sleep.
6. Heart palpitations
Heart palpitations, according to the NHS, are harmless in most cases and are not signs of a serious problem - however, you should seek immediate medical attention if the heart palpitations are accompanied with chest pain, dizziness or blackouts/loss of consciousness.
The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre states that “between 30 per cent to 50 per cent of respondents were experiencing the following symptoms after six months of symptoms” and listed “dizziness and balance issues”.
8. Pins and needles
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) lists the feeling of pins and needles (known as peripheral neuropathy symptoms) as one of the more common neurological symptoms of long Covid.
8. Joint pain
The NHS says that many joint and muscle problems after Covid improve quite quickly, and that when people are unwell, they are less active which can lead to joint and muscle pain.
10. Depression and anxiety
Research published in the European Respiratory Journal showed that those living with long Covid are at “significant risk of experiencing depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)”.
11. Tinnitus and earaches
Dr Akrami, from the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, says that “tinnitus and other sensorimotor symptoms are all common, and may point to larger neurological issues involving both the central and peripheral nervous system”.
12. Feeling sick
The NHS says that feeling sick, experiencing diarrhoea, stomach aches and loss of appetite are all common symptoms of long Covid.
13. Ongoing Covid symptoms
Additionally, the NHS says that long Covid symptoms can mirror those of the symptoms of Covid, such as a high temperature, a cough, headaches, sore throat and changes to sense of smell or taste.
14. Skin disorders
The NHS says that “many skin problems have been seen in people with Covid, but there are some that occur more frequently”, which includes: chilblain-like swellings on fingers and toes, sores or ulcers in the lips and mouth and an itchy widespread rash.
15. Sore throat
Alongside a cough, a sore throat is another common symptom of long Covid.
Gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea have been reported as a symptom, with researchers at Stanford University finding that a third of patients they studied with Covid-19 had symptoms affecting the digestive system.
17. Brain fog
Memory issues or problems with concentration, known as "brain fog", is a common symptom of long Covid according to the NHS.
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