Long Covid: You may experience ‘worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities’

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Indeed, according to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can sometimes persist for months. It explains: “Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities.” If you find that you are experiencing fatigue or breathlessness, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “Try to gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. Try going for short walks or doing simple strength exercises and build up from there.”

An NHS long Covid rehabilitation booklet says: “Breathlessness is a very common symptom in people with long COVID.

“Your lungs can become inflamed with your initial infection and the effort of breathing can increase.”

It adds: “Spending time in hospital and also being ill at home with COVID-19 over a long period of time can result in a significant reduction in your muscle strength and endurance.

“Exercise is very important for regaining your muscle strength and endurance but this needs to be safe and managed alongside other long COVID symptoms.”

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It says: “If you are suffering from on-going fatigue, please seek advice from a physiotherapist before getting back to ‘strenuous’ exercise.”

It adds: “If you are suffering from chest pain, palpitations, severe breathlessness or feel faint then please seek advice from a physiotherapist before starting any exercise programme.

“A physiotherapist will ensure that you have had the necessary investigations prior to starting exercises.”

“No exercise should be painful. If you experience pain, chest pain, feel faint or dizzy during exercise you should stop immediately and not restart your exercise programme until you have been seen by your physiotherapist,” notes the NHS booklet.

The NHS advice on long Covid says people who are recovering from an illness often report feeling a little better each day, and it can take time to fully recover.

It says: “With Long Covid you may feel fatigued after activities which were not previously difficult to cope with and this can affect your quality of life and ability to function as you did previously. This is more likely to occur at the end of the day or at the end of a busy week.

“Sometimes people experience a number of other symptoms worsening after physical stress. This could include brain fog, muscle aches or headaches alongside increased fatigue.

“Clinicians may call these ‘post exertional symptoms’. They are not in themselves dangerous but can affect your quality of life.”

There is also some suggestion that a vaccine can help reduce long Covid symptoms.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “In research published in October 2021, the Office for National Statistics used data from the UK Coronavirus Infection Survey to look at the association between COVID-19 vaccination and long Covid in people who already had it before the vaccine.”

The researchers found that the first vaccine was associated with an initial 13 percent decrease in the likelihood of self-reported long Covid.The second dose was associated with a nine percent decrease in the likelihood of self-reported long Covid, relative to having received the first vaccination, and there was statistical evidence of a sustained improvement after this.

The BHF states: “Which vaccine was used (Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna) didn’t appear to make any difference to the results. Nor did the person’s age, ethnic background, gender or other health issues.”

For some time the NHS has listed symptoms of coronavirus in adults as including a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

It has recently updated its page on the main symptoms of Covid. The health body lists the following signs in adults:

  • A high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • An aching body
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

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