We all remember the days of evening updates from Downing Street and compulsory mask wearing in public places. Whilst we have adapted to learn to live with COVID-19 as a country, there are still a high number of cases being recorded daily. This stands at an average of around 36,000 positive COVID cases each day as of September 2022.
These figures may not look as scary as they have been in the past, but the reality is that an estimated 1.8 million people are living with the effects of long Covid in the UK alone. These effects have left at least 346,000 people saying that long-term COVID significantly interrupts their ability to carry about normal daily activities. As with the pandemic itself, gaining a definition of what long-COVID is can be difficult, but as you can see from the figures, this does continue to be a serious issue in the UK.
At The Long Haul Lounge, we have worked hard over recent years to understand how this side-effect can be treated based on the different symptoms the virus can cause. We believe that a mix of holistic and anti-viral treatments is the key to helping people get better quicker. In this blog post, we will look at what long COVID is and how you can help yourself recover.
What is long COVID?
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) define long COVID as the following:
- ongoing symptomatic COVID-19: signs and symptoms of COVID-19 from four to 12 weeks
- post-COVID-19 syndrome: signs and symptoms that develop during or after COVID-19, continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
Long COVID may be characterised as having occurred when one or more symptoms persist for this amount of time. The sorts of symptoms and the intensity of those symptoms can vary from person to person. Additionally, this does not have to be a continuous stream of symptoms; rather, it is the accumulation of problems that may be encountered after a positive diagnosis has been made.
The main indicators of long-term COVID are:
- Fatigue – 51% of those suffering state that this is the main symptom that they are inflicted with. This affects not only physical energy levels but also significantly impacts mental well-being and clarity. Coined as ‘COVID mind fog’, for many, this form of mental exhaustion and memory loss proves to be an ongoing issue. In fact, 23% of people say that it is near impossible to concentrate when suffering from long COVID.
- Respiratory Issues – 33% of people note that they suffer from shortness of breath with long COVID. As a virus that attacks the lungs and heart, even those who did not previously have a weak chest find that they get out of breath very easily. Breathing for long-term COVID is one of the methods we have created to provide relief. When long COVID strikes, even a task as simple as taking the bin out or walking the dog could prove to be a nightmare. We can teach you how to take back control and pace yourself so you can work to bring back the previous muscle strength that your longs had to offer.
- Fever – Struggling to regulate temperature can be experienced even after a positive diagnosis has passed. Whilst this represents a form of infection when the body is under attack for a long COVID case, this is apparent as the body had not completely healed. This is less commonly experienced than the other symptoms but is still an ongoing issue for some.
- Joint and Muscle Pain – For 37.5% of patients, some form of joint pain or skin myalgia is experienced during COVID and the period that follows. During long COVID, people may find it hard to move around, be as active as they were before and also suffer from a loss of muscle strength.
As a reflection of the severity of long-term COVID, the U.K. has recognised it as an official disability which is noted under the U.K.’s Equality Act 2010. Designed to support employers and their employees alike, this official recognition proves the significance of the long-term condition and that it is an illness that is not expected to diminish anytime soon.
What are the current rules for long-term COVID?
Whilst the country went into a complete lockdown and has also experienced rules around isolation for the past 24 months, there are currently no legal rules for anyone with a positive COVID case. Whether you are suffering from a regular spell of COVID or a long-term case, it is down to the individual to use common sense in their actions.
Whereas there are not any isolation rules, it is a recommendation that those who are suffering from long-term conditions or those who are vulnerable, do still take precautions to be safe. If you have long COVID, you are no longer infectious, which means you cannot pass on your symptoms to anyone else. You can, however, still catch another bout of the illness within a few months, so it is worth being extra careful if this is the case. Other conditions in which people may be susceptible to long-COVID if they catch it, so they should therefore be extra careful, include asthma, those with compromised blood cell health, and females that are pregnant.
There does not seem to be any hard-set rule that states who can suffer from long-COVID, but there is more chance of someone suffering if they are not in complete health when they catch the virus.
How can I treat long COVID?
As we have explained, there is no one-fits-all mould for what symptoms people will suffer with. Therefore, it is down to the patient to take control of their longer-running indications to ensure that they can rectify them before they get any worse.
If your condition is causing serious medical issues, such as struggling to move or breathe, you should always get medical support at your earliest convenience. Long-COVID can lead to worse health conditions if not treated properly, so it is always essential to avoid how your symptoms develop.
Our top tips for treating long-term COVID are the following:
– Diet – It is recommended that following a Mediterranean diet is key to improving your health through diet. Consisting of a healthy balance which has anti-inflammatory benefits, the saying you are what you eat comes into mind here. If your body is healthy, it will be stronger and more likely to fight the effects of long-COVID.
– Gentle stretching and movement of the body, particularly Yoga – Positive for the mind, body and soul, keeping the body mobile is essential for building back some of the strength lost from COVID. Whilst energy levels may be low, slowly building back muscle will allow fluids to follow through the body and brain such as blood and lymph. Our Yoga for the long-COVID course provides the perfect physical balance that is needed to relieve some long-haul symptoms such as muscle pain, joint stiffness, breathlessness, changing heart rate and blood pressure and anxiety.
– Holistic therapies – Whilst we appreciate that some forms of illness post-COVID may need medical intervention, we think that many of the symptoms can be helped with natural therapies. Forms such as acupuncture, massage and acupressure all focus on unlocking the tension areas within the body to promote natural healing. For issues such as headaches, joint pain, memory loss, and back pain, these all offer brilliant solutions.
– Breathing therapies – The nature of COVID means that breathing can be severely impacted. That is why we created our Breathing for long COVID Programme, as it allows you to take part in the form of rehabilitation that can help your breathing return to normal. The benefits also include improving oxygen levels, adopting relaxation techniques, and enhancing lung functionality.
– Be kind to yourself – This may sound simple or just a bit basic if you are looking for a quick resolution to your issues but taking pressure away from your recovery is a way to speed it up. When suffering from physical ailments or dark mental patches, taking time to appreciate what you are dealing with is important. Try and adopt things that help your mental well-being, as being relaxed will have an overall positive impact on your general health.
– Consider your brain health – You can also take steps to improve your brain strength via training and adopting new methods of helping you to remember tasks. When struggling with brain fog, simply relying on your mind will likely not be enough. We recommend taking time daily to carry out brand exercises, use lists and notepads to remind you of tasks, and look at ways you can clear your mind through forms such as hypnotherapy.
Are you tired of being in it for the long haul?
Long COVID can be a tireless condition to deal with that impacts every part of your life. The trademarked programmes that we offer at The Long Haul Lounge help you get your pre-COVID life back. No fancy tricks or modern medicines. We simply rely on tried and tested programs which focus on mental and physical strength.
Check out our programmes today to start your journey to recovering from long-COVID.