Last time we talked about restarting exercise post Covid-19 infection. This time we will take a brief look at what is being called “long-COVID”. After Covid-19 infection, most people will start to feel better within a few weeks. Unfortunately, some people take longer to get better and some can face ongoing health symptoms.
Long-Covid, also known as “long-haul” or “post-COVID” is an umbrella term used to describe the presence of signs and symptoms that develop during or following an infection consistent with COVID-19 which continue for 12-weeks or more and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis1. These can be a range of symptoms that may last months or years after the initial illness and that can have a significant impact on quality of life and function3. Those who have suffered from mild or severe COVID-19 infections can experience long COVID2.
Long-COVID symptoms can fluctuate, affect any system in the body and present as relapsing and remitting. Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, post-exertion malaise, and cognitive dysfunction.2 Physical activity, stress, exercise and mental activity have been shown to be some of the most common triggers of symptom relapses over 7 months.2
What can you do if you feel like you are experiencing long-COVID symptoms? There is still much research being conducted around the best way to treat long-COVID and treatment primarily takes the form of a multidisciplinary healthcare approach due to the varied nature of symptoms. The B.C. The Provincial Health Services Authority provides resources regarding symptoms, self care as well as referral information for recovery clinic care in Victoria at Royal Jubilee Hospital. A primary care provider (e.g. family doctor or nurse practitioner) can refer you to a Post-COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Care Network by completing a referral form. To be referred, a person must be experiencing symptoms that limit your daily activities and that have been affecting you for at least three (3) months following your presumed or confirmed COVID-19 illness3. More information can be found at the Provincial Health Services Authority website www.phsa.ca/health-info/post-covid-19-care-recovery
Speak to your primary healthcare provider if you feel like you are experiencing symptoms of long-covid.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). COVID-19 Rapid Guideline: Managing The Long-term Effects of COVID-19. 2020 December 18