Illnesses and long-term conditions

Long term effects of COVID-19

While most people’s symptoms of COVID-19 resolve within a few weeks, some people may experience persisting or new symptoms. This has been referred to as long COVID.

The long term effects of COVID-19 relate to people who have signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection that is consistent with COVID-19, which continue for more than four weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

The condition usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which may change over time and can affect any system within the body. Common symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • fatigue
  • persisting high temperature
  • breathlessness
  • cognitive impairment
  • generalised pain
  • mental health problems

These symptoms are not limited to people who were seriously unwell or hospitalised with, or as a result of, COVID-19.

Supporting people with long term effects of COVID-19

We recognise and acknowledge the impact that long COVID can have on the health and wellbeing of those affected. We are committed to ensuring that every person with long COVID is supported with access to the care they need, in a setting that is as close to their home as possible.

We published Scotland’s Long COVID service (September 2021) which sets out our approach and commitments to improving care and support for people with long COVID in Scotland.

In addition, we have established a £10 million long COVID Support Fund to help health boards respond to the condition.

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