The long-term sequelae of COVID-19 are unknown. However, a range of complaints have been observed in COVID-19 convalescents – not only those recovering from the severe form of the acute disease (ie, post intensive care syndrome), but also those who had mild and moderate disease.
These long-term complaints include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Low grade fever
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory lapses
- Changes in mood
- Sleep difficulties
- Needle pains in arms and legs
- Diarrhea and bouts of vomiting
- Loss of taste and smell
- Sore throat and difficulties to swallow
- New onset of diabetes and hypertension
- Skin rash
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
The term ‘Long COVID’ has recently emerged as a description of the clinical ‘syndrome’ associated with chronic, but not yet describable as long-term, sequelae of COVID-19. The nature and causation, as well as remediable options and social implications, of Long Covid are yet to be established.
Long-term impacts on pulmonary function, exercise capacity and health status, as well as psychiatric morbidities and chronic fatigue, have been observed in survivors of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). However, it is not known whether lessons from SARS are applicable to COVID-19.
- Yelin D, et al. Long-term consequences of COVID-19: research needs. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Oct;20(10):1115-1117. [Full text]
- Ngai JC, et al. The long-term impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome on pulmonary function, exercise capacity and health status. Respirology. 2010 Apr;15(3):543-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2010.01720.x. Epub 2010 Mar 19. [Full text]
- Lam MH, et al. Mental morbidities and chronic fatigue in severe acute respiratory syndrome survivors: long-term follow-up. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Dec 14;169(22):2142-7. [Abstract]
- Maxwell, E Living with Covid19 – A dynamic review of the evidence around ongoing Covid19 symptoms (often called Long Covid). NIHR – National Institute for Health Research October 2020 .