Long Covid

If you suffer from long-term symptoms linked to Covid-19 and those symptoms have no other explanation, you may have long-term Covid, also called long Covid.

The most common symptoms are:

  • feeling less fit, persistent fatigue
  • difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or shortness of breath
  • pain or pressure in the chest
  • muscle pain, reduced strength, reduced endurance of movement, faster out of breath during movement
  • headache
  • palpitations
  • loss of taste or smell
  • less ability to think well, problems with remembering or paying attention (this is also grouped under 'brain fog')
  • anxious or sad feelings and depression

The symptoms are different for everyone, but generally have an impact on your daily life. They can also change or even disappear and come back. Sometimes you suffer from it at the start of the acute Covid-19 infection, sometimes you only suffer from it after you have recovered from that acute infection. Your complaints can also change.

What is the cause?

Long Covid occurs when you have a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of Covid-19 with symptoms lasting at least 2 months and not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

To recover from corona, your body needs a lot of energy. This sometimes leaves less energy for other things, such as your brain, and complaints can arise such as problems thinking clearly or fatigue. The exact reason why these complaints occur, and why they occur in some cases and not in others, is not known.

The coronavirus can damage cells in the nose that you use to smell, causing you to experience problems with smell and taste. It could also be that the virus damages taste cells on the tongue.

What can you do yourself?

The complaints usually disappear on their own over time. A healthy diet, good sleep and daily exercise, all in balance with sufficient relaxation: all these things support you for a gradual recovery.

When you feel less fit, it is important to find a balance between doing an activity and taking a rest.

Try to incorporate exercise every day. Start with this very slowly. You can gradually increase the exercise or activity day by day and according to what your body allows that day.

Even if you experience problems with clear thinking, it can help to gradually rebuild your activities. Do one task at a time and take breaks.

If you smell or taste less well, it remains important to continue to eat healthily. You can also try smell training: smell four strong scents every day. If you have loss of taste, look for foods that you currently enjoy or that feel pleasant in your mouth. Spice up your food with spices and continue eating with sweet, sour, bitter or salty flavors. You can also try carbonated drinks for some extra mouthfeel.

Are you anxious or depressed? Do you experience annoying complaints or complaints that affect your mood? It can help to talk about it with people around you. This way they can better understand what you feel, or you can exchange experiences and tips.

When should you see a doctor?

If you have persistent complaints after experiencing a Covid-19 infection, consult your doctor. He can make a diagnosis. If you still suffer 12 weeks after the first symptoms or 12 weeks after the first positive test and there is a clear impact on your daily life, you are eligible for a reimbursement within the long covid care process . Within this care process, you as a patient do not have to pay anything yourself, and no supplement can be charged. You do not have to pay a co-payment for most benefits.

Elise Rummens

Elise is our family doctor. Her hobbyhorse when it comes to health is exercise. That's why you see her jumping, flying, diving, falling and getting up again on Tuesday evenings. Then she has her weekly parkour training.

Prevention doctor CM