How long it takes to recover from Covid-19 is different for everybody.
Many people recover quickly, however some people have symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called long Covid.
Long Covid can affect anyone, not only those who were seriously unwell or admitted to hospital when they caught Covid-19. People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems.
Signs and symptoms of long Covid
Long Covid describes a variety of symptoms, which could change over time.
Common long Covid symptoms include:
- extreme tiredness
- shortness of breath
- chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration
- difficulty sleeping
- 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
If you are worried about any of your symptoms, you should always seek medical advice from your GP. They will discuss the support they think you need to help you get better.
To find out more about long Covid symptoms, please visit the NHS website.
If you have long Covid and are unable to work
If you are employed, you could be be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
If you are not eligible or your SSP is ending or has ended, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if long covid is affecting how much you can work. ESA gives you money to help with living costs and support to get back into work if you are able to. You may also be eligible to apply for Personal Independence Payment if you have difficulty with everyday tasks and getting around.
If you are in England you can get a health and social care assessment to find out what help you can get (for example equipment, home care) from your local council.
If you have long Covid and need support to find, return to or stay in work
Employers and employees can get advice from the Society of Occupational Medicine or ACAS on managing health conditions at work, returning to work after Covid-19 and sickness and absence because of long Covid.
You may need to ask your employer to make reasonable adjustments so you can continue to work while you recover.
If you have a child with long Covid
Schools, academies and colleges must make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions. The parent or a healthcare professional should tell the school if your child has medical needs.
The NHS has created a website to help you understand what has happened, what you might expect as part of your recovery and what support is available to you from the NHS. To find out more, visit Your Covid Recovery.