Extreme tiredness, heart palpitations, and hair loss are among the myriad of debilitating symptoms that patients were revealed to be struggling with in Britain, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released in July.
A study published in the Lancet in 2021 found long Covid – lasting symptoms of the virus that remain after the infection is gone – has an estimated 203 ailments affecting 10 organs in the body, data from participants across more than 50 countries showed.
These are impacting an estimated 1.9 million people in the UK, according to the ONS’s latest figures. As of March, this is the number of people who have been experiencing coronavirus symptoms for more than four weeks, with 1.5 million reporting these adversely affected their day-to-day activities.
The NHS lists fatigue, feeling short of breath, loss of smell and muscle aches as among the most common symptoms. However, it adds there are many more, including tinnitus, brain fog, depression and anxiety.
The Lancet study indicated the most common symptoms after six months were associated with fatigue and issues with brain function.
It concluded that long Covid patients report “prolonged, multisystem involvement and significant disability”, with many not yet fully recovered by seven months.
And a major new study led by researchers at Imperial College London has revealed one in 20 patients have symptoms lasting more than a year.
There is no cure for long Covid and it affects everyone differently, with treatment to attempt to manage the symptoms offering the best hope for sufferers.
One in 10 long Covid sufferers are forced to stop working at a cost of £1.5 billion in lost earnings every year, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
It comes as coronavirus case rates have shown an overall increase since July, with fears the approaching winter will bring a further surge in infections.
Here is the ONS’s list of self-reported long Covid symptoms in the UK:
Loss of appetite
Loss of smell
Loss of taste
Low mood or not enjoying
Memory loss or confusion
Nausea or vomiting
Runny nose or sneezing
Shortness of breath
Vertigo or dizziness
Weakness or tiredness
Worry or anxiety