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What is long Covid?

NICE definition (UK)
NICE describes the term long COVID, which it uses "in addition to the clinical case definitions", as "commonly used to describe signs and symptoms that continue or develop after acute COVID-19. It includes both ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 (from four to twelve weeks) and post-COVID-19 syndrome (12 weeks or more)"

What are the main symptoms of long covid?

Long COVID symptoms vary from mild to severe. Recovery from symptoms may take longer than 35 weeks for most people affected, and may vary over time, with fatigue, fatigue after exercise and 'brain fog' as the most common symptoms after six months. Many organ systems may be affected but most commonly there may some residual lung or respiratory symptoms.

How many people are suffering from this?

In a large population cohort study in Scotland, 42% of people who responded to the survey said they had not fully recovered after 6 to 18 months after catching COVID, and 6% indicated they had not recovered at all. The risk of long COVID was associated with disease severity; Those that had been hospitalised had 4.6 times higher odds of no recovery compared to non hospitalised people. Prevalence generally decreased with a longer follow-up time.

What causes long covid?

In general it is currently unknown why most people recover fully within two to three weeks and others experience symptoms for weeks or months longer. The exact processes that cause long COVID remain uncertain, although there are some indications of what causes it.


Treatment and management

As of 2022, there are no established pharmaceutical treatments for long COVID.

Management of long COVID depends on symptoms, with current guidelines recommending multidisciplinary rehabilitation to improve symptoms and quality of life. Rest, planning and prioritising are advised for people with fatigue. People who suffer from fatigue after exercise may benefit from activity management with pacing.

However –
Acupuncture has been shown to improve long COVID symptoms at a high percentage rate shown in a recent study. Research demonstrated that acupuncture improved breathing and cognitive function ('brain fog') while reducing pain levels and fatigue. The research is consistent with the findings from related investigations and other published case studies.

In Canada, an investigation of 85 cases of long COVID found acupuncture effective. The total effectiveness rate was 85%, with 85% cured of shortness of breath and fatigue, 84% cured of body pain and 82% cured of brain fog. Seventy-two patients achieved the clinically cured level and 13 cases were non-responders.

We have treated a number of long covid cases with acupuncture those ranging from having it immediately post covid to 2 years after infection with excellent results.

If you would like to know more or book an appointment with our long Covid specialist Paul Browning please contact the Claygate clinic on 01372 464968.

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