How long do Covid symptoms last?

UK Covid-19 death toll increases by 1,610

According to the latest Government figures, at total of 3,466,849 positive cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the UK since the start of the pandemic. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also estimates at least one in eight people in England had coronavirus by December 2020, according to a recent report.

Details have recently been released of the ONS’s Covid-19 Infection Survey, in partnership with the University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Public Health England and the Wellcome Trust.

The survey aimed to work out the proportion of the population who are likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies based on blood test results.

The ONS figures suggest approximately 5.4 million people over the age of 16 in England have previously had the infection.

The latest figures are an increase on previous statistics, which estimated one in 14 people had been infected with Covid-19 in October 2020.

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How long do Covid symptoms last?

According to the NHS, many people with coronavirus will see their symptoms start to ease after a few days or weeks.

However, in some cases Covid symptoms can last for several weeks or longer, and this is known as “long Covid” or post-Covid-19 syndrome.

The NHS website states: “How long it takes to recover from coronavirus is different for everybody.

“Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.

“The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get coronavirus.

“People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems.”

Long Covid can affect people in different ways, and common symptoms of long Covid are wide-ranging.

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Common long Covid symptoms include extreme tiredness (fatigue), shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”), difficulty sleeping (insomnia), heart palpitations, dizziness and pins and needles.

Joint pain, depression and anxiety, tinnitus, earaches, feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite, a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste and rashes are also common symptoms of long Covid.

The NHS recommends if people are worried about their symptoms four or more weeks after having Covid-19, they should contact their GP for advice.

A GP may determine a patient needs to be referred to a rehabilitation service, in order to help them recover from their illness.

How long do people with Covid-19 need to self-isolate for?

People who test positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate, in order to prevent spreading the virus onto anyone else.

The self-isolation period is 10 days, and it includes the day symptoms started or the day the test was carried out if a patient doesn’t have symptoms, and 10 full days after.

If someone who was self-isolating gets symptoms of coronavirus, the self-isolation period starts again from the day after symptoms began.

The NHS states people with coronavirus can stop self-isolating after 10 days if they do not have any symptoms, or if the person only has a cough or a change to sense and smell.

This is because a cough or changes to sense and smell “can last for weeks after the infection is gone”.

People should continue self-isolating if they have a high temperature, or if they feel hot and shivery.

A runny nose, sneezing, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea are also symptoms which mean someone needs to extend their self-isolation, until the symptoms are no longer present.

In the case of diarrhoea or being sick, people should stay at home for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

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