Information for people experiencing Long COVID and their whānau

Updated 11 January 2021

 

Long COVID is the name given to the symptoms experienced by people after the initial COVID-19 infection. You might also hear it called post-COVID syndrome, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID, or chronic COVID.

Common COVID-19 symptoms Can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Low mood
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chest pain
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Ongoing changes to smell or taste
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart

Some people appear to experience more serious long-term complications of COVID-19, although these are not as common.

Researchers have reported Long COVID in people in Italy, the Netherlands, the U.K., the USA, and China. In New Zealand we are also seeing people experiencing Long COVID.

It has been found that even those who had a mild case of COVID-19 are experiencing Long COVID three or more months later. It is still unclear if there are differences in the experience of Long COVID between people of different ages, genders, or ethnicities, or about the impact on those who have other underlying health issues.

As Long COVID is still new, there is not a lot of information about it and scientists and health professionals are still working out the best ways to manage and treat it. The lack of information about Long COVID can be frustrating for people experiencing it. Remember you are not alone, there are people all around the world experiencing Long COVID. There are online groups established for people with Long COVID where you can get support and meet others experiencing this condition:

Facebook group for Long COVID N.Z.

Facebook group for Long COVID U.K.

For support around the management and treatment of your Long COVID symptoms please seek the help of your GP or health care team. It is important to contact your GP if you develop any new or worsening symptoms such as:

  • Swelling of a leg or arm.
  • Losing more weight.
  • A fast-beating or racing heart.
  • Muscle aches.

But please call 111 or seek urgent medical care if you:

  • Are coughing up blood.
  • Have severe chest pain.
  • Are getting more breathless.

Remember if you need someone to talk to you can free call or text 1737 anytime of the day or night to talk to a trained counsellor.

More information

Internationally efforts are being made to better understand long COVID and how to best manage or treat it. This page will be updated as new evidence becomes available.

For more information about Long COVID please see the resource list below or go to Information for GP’s and other health professionals.

Resource list

Websites

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Covid Symptom Study

National Health Service

Patient Safety Learning

World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19)

Articles

Clinical Sequelae of Covid-19 Survivors in Wuhan, China: A Single-Centre Longitudinal Study

Early Rehabilitation in Post-Acute Covid-19 Patients: Data from an Italian Covid-19 Rehabilitation Unit and Proposal of a Treatment Protocol

Muscle Strength and Physical Performance in Patients without Previous Disabilities Recovering from Covid-19 Pneumonia

Patient Outcomes after Hospitalisation with Covid-19 and Implications for Follow-Up: Results from a Prospective Uk Cohort.

Persistent Symptoms 3 Months after a Sars-Cov-2 Infection: The Post-Covid-19 Syndrome?

What Are the Long-Term Health Impacts of Coronavirus?

 

 

The information on this page was prepared by multi-disciplinary health professionals at the
National Institute for Health Innovation and affiliates on 9 December 2020.