For some people, coronavirus (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".
What is Long COVID?
Guidance describes long COVID as ongoing symptoms following a COVID-19 infection that continue for more than 12 weeks.
These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can't be explained by another cause.
It is sometimes called “post-COVID-19 syndrome” or "long COVID".
There are various symptoms linked to long COVID, these may include:
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- shortness of breath
- chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- heart palpitations
- pins and needles
- joint pain
- depression and anxiety
- tinnitus, earaches
- feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
What to do if you think you may have long COVID?
If you're worried about symptoms 4 weeks or more after having COVID-19, please contact your GP surgery to make an appointment. Your doctor will talk to you about the care and support you might need and give you advise on the next steps.
Please visit Your COVID Recovery website for more information to support your recovery from long COVID.
Recovery and research
Recovering from COVID
- COVID rehabilitation guide a comprehensive guide from Surrey-based First Community Health and Care.
- NHS guide to COVID recovery with information on managing effects, your well-being, and your road to recovery.
- NHS written guide to Long COVID
Online Long COVID support is available from Headway, Surrey, for COVID 19 survivors and families.
Research into Long COVID
The NIHR (National Institute of Health Research) and UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) are spending £18.5 million funding four research studies to better understand and address the longer term effects of COVID-19 on physical and mental health.
NHS Long Covid Clinic - patient films
This film follows patients at the NHS specialist Post-Covid clinic at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, one of 90 such services that are now established across England, as part of a £224m NHS investment to support people experiencing the long term effects of Covid.
Featured in the film is John, who explains how the ongoing effects of Covid have impacted on his overall health and day-to-day life. As part of his assessment, John gets a psychological and physical check-up from a multidisciplinary team of NHS professionals to help him manage his symptoms and support his recovery.
Watch the video on NHS England's YouTube channel.