Most people’s symptoms of coronavirus get better within 4 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer, or new ones can develop. Some people may experience the symptoms of long COVID for months or years. Symptoms can also change over time and can affect anywhere in the body.
Healthcare professionals may refer to long COVID as:
ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 (4 to 12 weeks)
post-COVID-19 syndrome (over 12 weeks)
As this is a new condition, knowledge of long COVID is developing all the time. Experts are learning more about how long symptoms will last, and it’ll vary from person to person. There can be different symptoms which often overlap. It can’t be said exactly how long coronavirus symptoms will last. The reassuring evidence is that symptoms improve over time in most cases.
Advice is based on:
evidence from research so far
experience and expert knowledge of healthcare professionals
Research is ongoing, so advice may change when its results are known.
Learn about Carole-Ann’s long COVID journey and how she managed her symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of long COVID
Signs and symptoms after coronavirus can be different from person to person. The most common ones include:
Nobody else understands your symptoms as well as you. Some people can carry on their day to day life managing long COVID symptoms themselves. Others may need further help from a healthcare professional.
You’re the best person to help your healthcare professional understand how your symptoms affect you.
Your symptoms can be assessed in several ways, which will include looking at your physical and mental wellbeing.
It’s not known whether vaccines have any effect on the ongoing symptoms of coronavirus. NHS Scotland recommend you get the coronavirus vaccine when offered it. Vaccines can help to reduce the risk of further infection.
There’s a patient information booklet for people who have symptoms that last more than 4 weeks. It’s written by experts from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN).