Long Covid or Post-Covid Syndrome

Most people who catch Covid get better within the first four weeks. “Long Covid” is an informal term commonly used to describe signs and symptoms that continue or develop after an acute infection of Covid. Depending on how long you have ongoing symptoms for, it can be called one of two things.

  1. Ongoing symptomatic Covid: This is where your symptoms continue for more than four weeks.
  2. Post-Covid Syndrome: This is where your symptoms continue for longer than 12 weeks and cannot be explained by any other condition.

Symptoms of Long Covid can be many and varied and can change over time. The most commonly reported symptoms include breathlessness, chest tightness or pain, fatigue, headache, chnage of taste and smell, confusion and memory problems, commonly called brain fog.

The length of your recovery from Covid is not necessarily related to the severity of your initial illness or whether or not you were in hospital. If new or ongoing symptoms do occur and they are causing you concern, you should always seek medical advice and support.

The NHS website Your Covid Recovery is there to help people recover from the effects of Covid-19. It includes information from experts about how to manage the effects of Covid on your body, mind and other conditions. It includes information on returning to work and a helpful section for family, friends and carers of people, who are recovering from Covid. 

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has issued guidelines in identifying, assessing and managing the long-term effects of Covid-19.

"Take it from me... get vaccinated."

Watch our film and hear why Diane, Steven and Darren are promoting the Covid-19 vaccine and what it is really like to live with Long Covid.

More than 2,000 people have been referred, assessed, and then referred on for treatment by Kent and Medway Post Covid Assessment Service, sometimes referred to as PCAS, which opened in May 2021.

On average patients are waiting between six to eight weeks for their initial assessment and we work with West Kent Primary Care, which provide the service, to monitor demand and make sure it runs smoothly.

Any patient who is experiencing continuing symptoms after 12 weeks of a Covid infection should contact their GP practice.

Before referring to the PCAS, a patient’s GP may carry out further tests, depending on symptoms, so any alternative diagnosis can be ruled out and also to decide if referral to the PCAS would be suitable.

Once referred, PCAS will get in touch and an expert team of professionals will assess a person’s condition and provide support in accessing services to help recovery.

Patients are usually assessed within six weeks, unless they chose to delay assessment for personal reasons. 

If you are having difficulty being referred to PCAS, please email: westkentprimarycare.postcovidassessmentservicekm@nhs.net

The evidence regarding post-covid syndrome in children and young people is rapidly emerging and specialised diagnostic and assessment clinics have been set up to support children and young people.

The demand for this is smaller than that of the adult population, however children and young people in Kent and Medway can be referred by their GP to local paediatrics clinic who will onward refer (where necessary) to the Children and Young People Long Covid London Hub.

Support for people with Long Covid

Your Covid Recovery – NHS advice for Long Covid. 

For NHS advice about the impact of Covid on mental wellbeing, visit Every Mind Matters.

One You Kent and Better Medway can help you get back to a healthier you. 

Get connected to advice, support and social activities in your area.

Many people with Long Covid work for the NHS, find out what support is available for NHS staff affected by Long Covid.

Watch this video of people from Kent and Medway sharing their experiences of living with Long Covid.

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