Long COVID Care & Services
Long COVID is a highly complex and varied condition.
Over 200 different symptoms have been reported, including fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction as well as a host of more unusual or unexpected symptoms. This can have an impact on everyday life, especially as long COVID can last for months or even years.
This means that there is no one treatment solution. An individual approach is required to provide the right care for each patient.
The Smart Clinics can offer access to Private GPs for ongoing care and support. We offer long appointment times and short waiting lists at a choice of 4 London clinics to ensure that our patients are supported during their recovery.
What is Long COVID?
Most cases of Covid-19 are generally better within 1-2 weeks. There may be some residual fatigue, but patients are normally fully recovered within 3 months.
However, some people do not recover quickly and find that the effects of the virus last much longer. They may experience new symptoms too. This is called ‘long Covid’.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) definition is:
“It is defined as the continuation or development of new symptoms 3 months after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, with these symptoms lasting for at least 2 months with no other explanation.”
How Common is Long COVID?
Long COVID is widespread. The WHO say:
“10–20% of people infected by SARS-CoV-2 may go on to develop symptoms that can be diagnosed as long COVID. Although exact numbers of those living with the condition are uncertain, it is believed that more than 17 million people across the WHO European Region may have experienced it during the first two years of the pandemic (2020/21).”
Nearly 2 Million UK Long COVID Cases
Long COVID is estimated to affect 1.9 million people in the UK. (source Office of National Statistics ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights’ 5th March 2023). Data also indicates that the condition can last a long time, as 69% had long Covid symptoms for at least a year and 41% had suffered from long Covid symptoms for at least two years.
Long COVID Symptoms
The most common long COVID symptom reported are as follows (according to ONS research)
- Fatigue – 72%
- Difficulty concentrating – 51%
- Muscle ache – 49%
- Shortness of breath – 48%
However, there is a very long list of potential symptoms.
More symptoms of Long COVID
Many diverse symptoms of long Covid have been identified through research. They include:
Joints and muscles
- muscle and join paint
- generalised aching
- pain in the back or shoulders
Neurological or cognitive symptoms
- ‘brain fog’ – not being able to think straight or focus
- difficulty with motor function or speech
- pins and needles
Mental health effects
- anxiety – worrying or feeling on edge
- difficulty sleeping
- depression – low mood/motivation, feeling helpless, lack of enjoyment
- PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
- persistent cough
- sore throat
- difficulty breathing
Stomach and digestive symptoms
- stomach pain
- bowel incontinence
Ear nose and throat symptoms
- changes to sense of smell or taste
- ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- a high temperature
- feeling hot and cold
- heavy arms or legs
Skin and hair symptoms
- hair loss
- skin rashes
Heart and circulatory symptoms
- chest tightness or pain
- changes to heart rate
Long COVID Care & Treatment
Long-COVID can have a devastating impact on quality of life, so it is important to get the right care and support to help manage the symptoms and work towards your recovery.
NHS long Covid clinics have been rolled out across England. However, services are restricted and require referral.
The private sector offers an alternative for patients who have long to help those struggling with ongoing symptoms.
- 30 minute standard appointment times – over 3 times the average NHS appointment
- Short waiting lists
- Evening and weekend clinics available
- Telephone and video appointment options
- Many health tests can be arranged privately with faster results
- Team of medical experts for fast and efficient referral
Vaccinating is the best way to avoid getting long COVID, as it reduces the likelihood of contracting coronavirus in the first place. It’s important to keep up with your immunisation and attend for boosters whenever you are invited to do so.