If you are experiencing ongoing symptoms after contracting the dreaded COVID virus, you probably wonder, ‘How long does long COVID last’? More than 2 million people have reported suffering from long-term symptoms in the UK as a result of their COVID symptoms lasting for longer than a few weeks.
With between three to twelve percent of people running the risk of still having symptoms after three months, it can feel like a lonely time if you are still suffering from a side-effect that others may have since recovered from. At The Long Haul Lounge, we have made it our mission to normalise the effects of long COVID and offer realistic and natural ways that you can help yourself get better quicker.
Whilst long COVID is individual to each person, we will run through what the statistics are saying during this blog and share our top tricks for how you can lessen your sentence to this debilitating virus.
How do I know if I have long COVID?
Suppose you are still feeling groggy and struggling to carry out everyday activities after a few months of being unlucky enough to have contracted COVID. In that case, chances are you are suffering from an extended form of the virus. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) confirms defines long COVID as suffering from either of the following issues:
- If you are experiencing ongoing symptomatic COVID-19: signs and symptoms of COVID-19 after four weeks.
- If you have developed symptoms during COVID that continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
Despite this definition, which many UK health bodies tend to go by, there is no official definition of what long COVID is and how long it can last for. Our rule is if you are struggling with symptoms or side effects that you cannot attribute to another illness, then unfortunately it sounds as though you are have been chosen for the long ride! Our advice is also to pay close attention to your own case instead of reading about others as defining what long COVID is relies on your ability to know if you are feeling any different to normal.
How long does long COVID last?
So, how long does long COVID last? Well, like a pick and mix that you don’t want to be given, COVID offers a varying range of symptoms that affect each person differently. It is hard to determine how long does long COVID last but based on advice online we have pulled a picture together for you below based on the most common side effects.
Shortness of breath can form a ‘significant and ongoing problem’ for as many as 37% of people who have breathing issues due to COVID. So, how long does long COVID last, with symptoms such as shortness of breath? This can last for months after the initial three-month window of expected recovery, and we find it can strike patients when they least expect it. COVID can cause oxygen saturation to go as low as 93%, which means that other knock-on effects are likely to be experienced, such as dizziness, fatigue, and confusion.
This can often be the last symptom to disappear as it hinges on all other lung functions having been restored to normality which can take its time. Other daily situations, such as exercising or exposure to smoke, can also cause the symptom to last much longer.
Our Solution? As simple as it sounds, learning to breathe again is essential and allows you to take back control. Our Breathing for Long COVID course is tailor-made to restore your lung strength during long COVID. One reason long-haulers feel weak is that they are not using their respiratory muscles fully so they are not breathing properly, deeply enough or powerfully enough. Yet they don’t know it. A study detected an increased respiratory drive and inspiratory muscle dysfunction in persistently symptomatic patients approx. 5 months after COVID-19. Designed and created by osteopath and breathing coach, Jane Reynolds BSc Hons OST, this course takes you back to square one of breathing and teaches you to breathe properly and well again, after Covid, whether or not you suffered severe respiratory symptoms during your initial infection.’
51% of those suffering from long-COVID are struck down by unwanted fatigue, which can be defined as a lack of energy and willingness to want to carry out everyday chores. If you are suffering from long-term COVID fatigue, something as simple as taking the bin out or walking the dogs can wipe you out for the rest of the day.
So, you may ask, how long does long COVID last with regard to symptoms such as fatigue? It is thought that energy levels should have returned to normal within four weeks after a positive COVID diagnosis. However, for 51% of people, this can extend beyond this timeframe, wreaking havoc on your ability to carry out even the simplest of tasks.
Our Solution? Whilst there is no magical cure to remove the undeniable tiredness that COVID can bring, we think naturally improving your energy levels is a great way to combat the issue. Our Yoga for Long COVID programme is a brilliant example of a low-impact exercise that you can do to improve your vitality without using up every ounce of what you have left to give! Yoga is proven to reduce the signs of fatigue while simultaneously giving the participant more energy thanks to the release of endorphins. As well as re-training your body to last for longer and have a higher resilience for everyday tasks, Yoga also has many other health benefits, including improved flexibility, a more balanced metabolism, and more defined muscle tone.
Joint and Muscle Pain
18.6% of patients are said to suffer from longer-term pain which lasts for as long as a year after a positive COVID testing period has ended. Individual experiences differ with accounts ranging from a smaller issue as wrist pains, to whole-body joint aches; often referred to as “fibromyalgic pain”, which can make it impossible to carry out normal activities. Muscle pain is another long COVID side effect which can also last months long and has done so for 15.6% of long COVID sufferers. More than 40% of patients with long COVID experience “fibromyalgia-like,” multisite pain, according to data released by Tonix Pharmaceuticals.
“We undertook this retrospective analysis in part to determine the feasibility and representative nature of our upcoming phase 2 study of TNX-102 SL in patients with long COVID who present with fibromyalgia-like multisite pain,”
– Seth Lederman, MD, CEO of Tonix Pharmaceuticals
Muscle pain and stiffness can be experienced because of both moving around less and the effects of the body fighting off the virus. Inflammation around the joints and in the muscles is also common when people are generally unwell and can be one of the last symptoms to disappear.
Our Solution? Again, our Yoga for Long COVID programme is a great solution as Yoga is favoured for its muscle-building and joint-strengthening qualities. In fact, a professionally created Yoga session is said to improve physical health by as much as 20%. The carefully designed movements in our programmes are also designed to improve in difficulty over time which is perfectly aligned with the healing process we expect you to be able to achieve when recovering from long COVID.
Loss of Smell and Taste
A loss or change in taste and smell was perhaps one of the most widely reported COVID symptoms at the start of the pandemic. This loss of a sense can last more than a year for some people leading to a range of further mental effects associated with losing a sense. Research in the US has also found that, unfortunately, this could be permanent for a small number of people, although the statistics for this are currently unknown. Therefore, determining how long does long COVID last with regard to this symptom is difficult.
Smell retraining therapy (SRT) is a treatment for loss of smell. It can be used to help return your sense of smell if it was lost during a viral infection or minor head trauma. SRT works by strengthening the nerves involved in our sense of smell. Some people also lose their sense of taste. SRT can help you recover this sense, as well.
Our Solution? Unfortunately, we don’t have a magical cure for bringing back smell and taste, but we think that your overall health improves your resilience to COVID. The AntiViral Life Programme for Long COVID™ helps mitigate the unwanted effects of long-term COVID by allowing you to heal yourself holistically. Once you are feeling stronger in yourself, we hope that the symptoms you are experiencing will lessen and disappear, meaning you can see (and smell) how much greener the grass is on the other side!
Should I be worried if my long COVID symptoms last longer that the timeframe you have outlined in this article?
No! Trying to put a timeframe for when you will feel better is impossible as no two cases of COVID seem to be the same. Putting yourself under the pressure of feeling back to normal by a specific time will likely cause your healing to take longer, as stress is a cause of many other illnesses. There are also no firm recommendations for how long does long COVID last as it’s still a new condition in the medical world, so it’s hard to judge your case versus industry standards.
If your symptoms continue to worsen, we recommend seeking medical advice, as it may be the case that COVID has caused other health issues. Otherwise, it’s about resting and getting in touch with your body once again to help you regain control.
How much longer is your COVID sentence?
Whether you suffer for one month or one year, it doesn’t make the horrible symptoms of this unwanted virus any easier. The statistics in this article and various accounts of the illness that you are sure to have come across prove that there is no rhyme or reason for how long you will feel unwell. However, as we have covered, there are some steps that you can take to start the healing process without medical intervention.
How long does long COVID last? We cannot tell you that, but we know that our tried and tested programmes have seen many people recover from horrible COVID symptoms. Find out more about our programmes here and start to take back control of Long COVID once and for all! Waiting won’t help. Long COVID can cause serious complications such as deterioration of muscle mass, including in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Your body needs your help and it needs it now.