Supporting your family member, neighbour or friend following their COVID illness can be challenging. You may be providing emotional and physical help in addition to all your other responsibilities.
It is important to gain as much knowledge as you can about Long COVID. We will keep this page updated with resources and organisations available to support you and your loved one.
What is Long COVID?
There are two stages to what is commonly known as Long COVID:
- Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 – symptoms that last 4-12 weeks
- Post-COVID-19 syndrome – symptoms that last for more than 12 weeks and can’t be explained by another diagnosis
It can affect your whole body, and symptoms can change and come and go over time. If you think you (or the person you’re caring for) might have Long COVID, the first thing you should do is speak to a GP. They will investigate the symptoms and first try to find out if there are any other possible causes, to see if there’s anything that needs urgent action.
You may be given advice about how to manage and monitor symptoms at home. Alternatively, you may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service or a service that specialises in the specific symptoms your loved one has.
Symptoms of Long COVID
There are lots of symptoms you can have after a coronavirus infection.
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
- 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
Stockport CCG have produced two leaflets containing useful advice on recovering from Covid-19:
- Post-viral fatigue – Practical advice for people treated in hospital
- Post-viral fatigue – Practical advice for people who have recovered at home
The NHS has launched a programme called Your COVID Recovery. This is an online rehabilitation platform designed to support your physical and emotional recovery if you have ongoing COVID-19 symptoms. You need to get a referral from a health care professional to access this programme.
You can visit the Your Covid Recovery website, which has information and advice on a wide range of Long COVID symptoms that can affect your body and mind, as well as advice on what to do if you already have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
The Your Covid Recovery website also includes a dedicated section for Family, Friends and Carers.
Long Covid Support
Long Covid Support is a peer support and advocacy group for people living with Long COVID. They also have affiliate groups including Long Covid Kids, a parent-led campaign and support group.
Long Covid Support was formed by a group of people struggling to recover from Covid-19, who found each other online and have been facilitating international peer support and campaigning in the UK for recognition, rehabilitation and research into treatments since May 2020.
Their website includes helpful resources including symptom management and a video series on post-COVID fatigue management.
The British Lung Foundation
The British Lung Foundation has lots of advice and support for people who are living with breathing issues, such as breathlessness. They also have advice on eating well, staying active and dealing with your mental health, which you might find useful.
Their team of respiratory specialists are available to support you with Long COVID breathlessness. Call 0300 222 5942 from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.
COVID support groups
To access a list of support groups around the world please take a look at the PDF: List of support groups by country
- Post coronavirus support group in Stockport:
If you’ve had coronavirus and are still suffering weeks later, you can join in a trial of a weekly, online peer support group. It’s initially been set up for people living in Reddish, central Stockport, Heaton Norris and Brinnington, but open to anyone in Stockport. The group, set up by Stockport Council, is not run by medics but hopes to provide a platform where people can chat, share experiences or just listen. Download the poster.
To find out more please email: email@example.com or call Marie on 07800 618570.
Stockport Moving Together
LifeLeisure and Stockport Council have developed a physical activity programme for people who have had coronavirus and are currently trying to rebuild strength and stamina as part of their recovery. You’ll receive an initial online or telephone consultation, a physical activity pack and a prescribed physical activity programme.
To be eligible for the programme you must:
- have had a positive coronavirus test and are currently looking at ways to gradually build up your strength and stamina
- have no underlying health conditions which require further investigations
- be a Stockport resident or have somebody who can pick up the pack from a Stockport location
- be 18 years and over
- be physically able to undertake some gentle exercise
To access the programme please complete the online referral form or ask your GP for a referral to the PARiS scheme.
For any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org