For some people, coronavirus can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone.

This is sometimes called post-Covid-19 syndrome or "long Covid".

The problem is continuing to cause serious issues worldwide for many who felt they were in the clear once said to have been recovered.

Here’s what we know so far in the still-developing, ever-changing picture of the condition.

About long COVID

How long it takes to recover from coronavirus 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, symptoms can last longer.

The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get coronavirus.

People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems.

Symptoms of long COVID

There are lots of symptoms you can have after a coronavirus infection.

Common long COVID symptoms include:

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • 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
  • rashes

How widespread is long Covid?

The NHS says one in five people who have contracted coronavirus have gone on to develop longer-term symptoms.

It has data showing 186,000 have reported having problems for up to 12 weeks.


But there is also evidence so far, including cases documented in the US, where symptoms have continued for more than six months.

The big problem, again, is there has not been time to glean meaningful data from long-term studies of the condition.

Showing the vagaries, early research in the US has suggested anywhere between 10% and 88 per cent of Covid-19 patients will have one or more symptoms for many weeks – or months.

Anecdotal evidence suggests children can be susceptible to long Covid as well as adults.

What happens at your appointment

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and the impact they're having on your life.

They may suggest some tests to find out more about your symptoms and rule out other things that could be causing them.

These might include:

  • blood tests
  • checking your blood pressure and heart rate
  • a chest X-ray

Treatment and support

Your doctor will talk to you about the care and support you might need.

You may be given advice about how to manage and monitor your symptoms at home.

If the symptoms are having a big impact on your life, you may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service or a service that specialises in the specific symptoms you have.

These services can help manage your symptoms and help you recover.