Long COVID overview

While most people recover quickly from coronavirus (COVID-19), some people may have ongoing symptoms. These can last for a few weeks or longer. This has been referred to as long COVID.

These symptoms are not limited to people who were seriously unwell or hospitalised with coronavirus.

What is long COVID?

Most people's symptoms of coronavirus get better within 4 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer, or new ones can develop. 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, our understanding is developing all the time. There can be different symptoms, which often overlap.

Signs and symptoms of long COVID

Signs and symptoms after coronavirus can be different from person to person. The most common ones include:

  • cough
  • breathlessness
  • fatigue
  • pain
  • sleep problems
  • loss of smell or taste
  • low mood
  • 'brain fog', loss of concentration or memory issues (cognitive impairment)
  • anxiety

Read further information about the signs and symptoms of long COVID

Assessing long COVID symptoms

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.

Read further information about assessing long COVID symptoms

Planning your care

When planning your care, it's important that you're involved in discussions and decisions that affect you.

After your assessment, your healthcare professional will discuss with you and agree on what support you need and how you can get it.

Read further information about your recovery

NHS inform helpline

If you’re well, but have a question about long COVID, you can phone 0800 22 44 88. The helpline is open 7 days a week, from 8.00am to 8.00pm.