International Long COVID awareness month

Last week on the 15th of March, we ushered in the first ever International Long COVID Awareness Day.

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The whole month of March has been dedicated to Long COVID awareness, and we want to endorse this by sharing some information, facts and stories from people living with the condition.

Long COVID is a condition that continues to impact people for a long time after they have contracted COVID-19. Symptoms of the condition vary widely from person to person, but may include fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint pain, headaches, loss of taste or smell, and difficulty sleeping. As well as physical symptoms, people living with Long COVID have reported a higher prevalence of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.

Experiencing Long COVID can be incredibly challenging for patients and their families, as the symptoms can be debilitating and have an adverse impact on their lives. It can have a significant economic impact on patients, who may be unable to continue working and therefore lose out on wages. For those people who are still able to work, the symptoms of Long COVID may have a significant impact on their productivity.

People living with Long COVID have been forced to give up aspects of their lives that were most important to them. Being unable to work is just one example of this, with other reports including being unable to exercise, play with their children, socialise, and even stand up long enough to shower:

“I still suffer from fatigue and muscle and chest pain. Brain fog has been a real issue, too. I was very active before, and it’s been hard to adjust and scale back to doing almost nothing. 

I’m on a phased return to work, going in for full days on Mondays and Tuesdays. But that wipes me out for the rest of the week. The smallest things tire me out, like getting dressed or making breakfast.” – Chloe, 26, on her experience with Long COVID.

Long COVID can massively reduce the quality of life of those who live with it, and these stories highlight that we must continue working towards a solution. At Pogo Digital Healthcare, in partnership with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and NHS Lothian, we have created MyTailoredTalks, a self-management tool to support people with the condition. The app and web platform enables people to rate their symptoms and generates information in the form of short talks that are tailored specifically to them. The app also includes the option to receive a call back from the CHSS advice line, allowing people to talk to a professional and receive further advice.

There is currently no medical treatment for Long COVID, but until one is found, we will continue to advocate for people living with the condition and incorporate their voices into our services.