Long-Covid and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

As the pandemic has progressed the emergence of “Long-Covid” or “Post Covid Syndrome” has grown. A large number of people have reported the continuation of symptoms months after becoming ill. The  NICE guidelines published on 30th October 2020 defines post-coved syndrome as the presentation of symptoms that developed during or following infection with Covid-19, and persist up for more than 12 weeks after the infection has otherwise cleared.

Usually this presents as a ‘cluster’ of overlapping symptoms which cannot be explained by any alternative diagnosis. They may include specific symptoms that presented at the time of infection, or generalised pain, fatigue, pressing high temperature and psychiatric problems.

These long term symptoms can be completely debilitating, and the exact number of people experiencing long-Covid is unclear.

Many of these symptoms, in particular fatigue, confusion and memory loss, are symptoms that are present in those with ME (chronic fatigue syndrome.) Nice has published specific guidelines on how to treat those with Long-Covid, using the same guidance as treating those with ME. It recommends CTB and graded exercise that gradually increases a person’s stamina.

As Long-Covid and ME are so similar, it is important to understand the symptoms os that you can identify, understand and support someone with the condition you may work with or live with. Symptoms can include sleep problems, muscle and joint pain, headaches, sore throat or glands without being swollen, problems remembering, concentrating / forming thoughts etc, flue-like symptoms, feeling sick or dizzy, fast or irregular heartbeat.

It is important to remember that symptoms change day to day, and that it is not the same for any two people with the condition.