With a full year now passed since the UK’s first lockdown, we are able to learn more and more about the potential long-term effects of COVID-19, as data and information continues to emerge.
Medical professionals and patients are discovering the after effects of COVID in tandem, and what is becoming increasingly clear is the growing need for post-COVID support.
By now, you may be familiar with the term ‘Long COVID’ or ‘Post COVID Syndrome’ as it is also known. To help you make sense of Long COVID, we’ve provided answers to some common questions.
If you’d like to learn more about our post COVID support services, please get in touch with your local Right at Home office.
What is Long COVID?
Although the time it takes for someone to recover from COVID-19 is different from person to person, most people who contract COVID-19 will feel better within a few weeks and make a full recovery within 12 weeks. For some, however, the effects of contracting COVID-19 last much longer after initially falling ill and they continue to experience symptoms. This is known as ‘Long COVID’ or ‘Post-COVID Syndrome’
What are the symptoms of Long COVID?
Post-COVID symptoms are wide-ranging and not always easy to predict. People who had mild symptoms when they were first infected with COVID-19 may still face long-term problems. Symptoms may include:
- Joint pain
- Stomach aches
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme tiredness
- A high temperature
- Problems with memory
- Changes to sense of smell/taste
Understandably, those experiencing Long COVID can become frustrated with their continued symptoms, particularly as the lasting effects are not yet fully understood. Frustration, fear and anxiety are common mental health effects of Long COVID. For people facing these types of post-COVID symptoms, companionship and support have never been more important.
Are people with Long COVID immune to coronavirus?
Though reinfection is uncommon, it is still possible to contract coronavirus more than once. The presence of antibodies required to fight COVID-19 are not always enough to guarantee ongoing immunity.
Even after a full recovery from COVID-19, the World Health Organization still recommends that everyone should wear a mask when they are in contact with other people outside of their home, regularly wash their hands and continue to practise social distancing.
What support is available for Long COVID?
Living with the long-term effects of COVID may feel isolating but it is important to remember, you are not alone. There are online peer support groups which have been set up, such as ‘Long COVID Support’. These support groups offer a safe space to share experiences with others experiencing symptoms.
Many people are also likely to need practical support with day-to-day activities. At Right at Home, our trusted team of CareGivers can provide care and assistance for people continuing to experience symptoms after recovering from coronavirus. Whether it is help with personal care services, including help with washing, dressing or grooming, or a friendly face to prepare meals, we can support you and your recovery.
How can I support someone with Long COVID?
The level of support an individual requires will depend on the severity and number of symptoms they have. Those with aches and pains may need support with moving around the house or accompaniment to and from doctor’s appointments. For individuals feeling held back by fatigue, then simple daily tasks may feel unmanageable. Regardless of the severity and number of symptoms, maintaining a clean environment is important for both health and wellbeing.
Relationships may be strained as your loved one comes to terms with the effects of Long COVID. Communication is key to understanding how the person you are supporting is feeling and what support they need.
If you are supporting someone with Long COVID, you should remember to take time out for yourself, to rest and recharge your own batteries as this new role can take its toll on your own mental health and wellbeing. Respite CareGivers can take care of your loved one’s needs whilst you take a well-deserved break. We have tips and advice on nutrition, mindfulness, exercise and sleep hygiene for family carers.
My loved one was hospitalised with Long COVID and is now returning home. What can we expect?
If you or a loved one were hospitalised with COVID-19, it may take some time to readjust to life at home. For people who were admitted to Intensive Care, they may face physical, mental and emotional symptoms of ‘Post-Intensive Care Syndrome’ (PICS). The NHS has produced an informative guide for family members whose loved ones were hospitalised as a result of contracting COVID-19. This guide is filled with tips and advice on how you can support a loved one physically and emotionally in their recovery.
There is still a lot to learn about the long-term effects of COVID-19, related to mental health, physical symptoms, and potential effects on the immune system but this information will come in time. It is important to remember though that most people will make a full recovery after contracting coronavirus.
For official NHS advice on recovery and the long-term effects of COVID, visit the Your COVID Recovery website.
For more information on how we can support you or a loved one at home, please get in touch with your nearest Right at Home office.