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Recovering from COVID-19

The majority of people who experience a COVID-19 infection have a short illness, though full recovery can take several weeks. Studies suggest that nearly 1 in 7 people (13.7%) continue to report symptoms at 12 weeks. Symptoms can come and go and we recognise that for some individuals, there are prolonged effects that involve a wide variety and often challenging symptoms.

Many people who experience COVID-19 will need time to recover from the illness.  It is important that people are kind to themselves and allow their body to recover at a natural pace. We refer to this as Post COVID recovery and there are a wide range of resources to support this.

As you are recovering from COVID-19, you may find that you get breathless, are much more tired than usual or struggle to be the busy person you were prior to being ill. You may get frustrated that you are not getting back to usual as quickly as you would like, or anxious about recovering your previous health. We have created information on the symptoms people have described when recovering from COVID which may help you feel reassured that your symptoms are not unusual.

Studies are being undertaken to help us to understand what causes these ongoing problems and to identify who might be at risk of longer term symptoms. The symptoms can be caused by your body’s response to the virus continuing beyond the initial illness. It is important to know that prolonged symptoms after COVID-19 are not contagious.

To aid recovery, our expert colleagues have produced ‘top tips’. We hope this information supports you on your road to recovery after having COVID-19.

Visit our Recovering from Illness page to find resources on recovery advice.

For some people, recovery from COVID-19 has been very challenging and they continue to feel the effects of the illness. It can be difficult to understand why some people seem to recover quickly but others are affected with a greater variety and impact and duration of symptoms.

We are very aware of the distress caused by continuing symptoms and the unpredictable nature of the recovery process.

We have worked with individuals who have kindly given their time to share their difficult experiences. This knowledge is informing our work with colleagues across the health board and in local authorities and charities to quickly develop resources and services to support people’s needs. This is an ongoing process, which means we are consistently reviewing our response.

We are also monitoring the emerging research and encouraging local people to participate as this will help us to better understand this illness and to offer treatments as they emerge.  

Download this poster on recovering from Covid-19

If you are recovering from COVID and experiencing symptoms that are concerning you or lasting longer than you would expect, there are a wide range of things available to you in this area :

  • Our Recovery from Illness resources provide general advice and guidance and have been widely used to support recovery from a range of conditions
  • If you are concerned about continuing symptoms after COVID-19, seek advice from your GP. Your GP will identify if further investigations, advice or referral are needed. If you have a pre-existing condition which has been exacerbated or complicated by symptoms post covid, please raise your concerns with your usual health professional initially who will advise how best to approach the new issues.
  • The Wales COVID Recovery App is a great resource that may help your recovery. This app is a support tool for adults recovering from COVID-19 that can be utilised alongside or independently of formal COVID-19 rehabilitation, which you may receive from your healthcare professional. All the important information and advice about your COVID recovery in one, easily accessible place. Visit www.gov.wales/recovery-app-launched-wales-help-support-people-long-covid

 

  • Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Therapists have been working in partnership with the Public Health Education Programme for Patients in Gwent to develop a bespoke programme focused on recovery from COVID. This short programme will be accessible in May 2021 and anyone experiencing extended post-COVID recovery symptoms. People can self-refer to this programme – a link will appear shortly on our website.

Written resources

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board are regularly organising events that enable us to listen to people who live in our communities and are experiencing prolonged symptoms of COVID-19. We are calling these events- ‘Post COVID recovery- expert by experience‘ at Our staff are working closely with a group of people experiencing continuing symptoms after having COVID-19, and we are incredibly grateful to the group for sharing their experiences with us.

If you would like to participate in one of these events or wish to share your personal experience of recovering from COVID, we would love to hear from you. Please send an email with your contact details to: ABB.CovidRecoveryExperience@wales.nhs.uk

 

Download the above poster

People’s response to COVID-19 and the mechanism of recovery including the different experiences of people is an important area for learning. This is a new disease and, so that clinical staff in ABUHB can provide the best advice and treatment for individuals with post COVID recovery symptoms, we are monitoring all new evidence as it emerges and encouraging Gwent residents to contribute to active research.

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) is producing regular updates on all new research and highlighting where there is not enough evidence for us to proceed with certain treatments. It is essential that we do not treat people with approaches that we are not sure will or may not be safe to use. Research helps us to understand this and uses a scientific approach to decide how and when we can test new treatments.

In the most recent NIHR publication (Living with Covid19 – Second review; March 2021) they highlighted that:

    1. Covid recovery symptoms that last longer than 12 weeks can be very debilitating and some people need help with personal care months after the initial infection. 71% of respondents in our own survey said Long Covid was affecting family life and 39% said it was impacting their ability to care for dependents. This is having an impact on the workforce, with 80% of respondents in our own survey saying Long Covid had affected their ability to work and 36% said it was affecting their finance.
    2.  Post-Covid syndrome (more than 12 weeks after infection) , is not a single condition  but a collection of symptoms that may be triggered by a number of things . They recommend studies to understand the different groups of people affected and potential disease mechanisms
    3. There is enormous variation in the estimated prevalence of symptoms 12 weeks after having Covid with a range between 4.5-10%
    4. Higher incidence of post-COVID recovery issues in women and in young people (including children) than might have been expected given the response to acute COVID infection.

The GenOMICC COVID-19 Study focuses on the link between genes and the response to COVID-19. It is hoped that by completing whole DNA sequence of many people in the UK we can discover whether genetic factors affect your response to acute covid and whether you develop longer term symptoms. Although we know that post-covid symptoms can affect people who didn’t formally get tested this study will only accept those who received a positive covid or antibody test

More information and how to take part: https://covid.genomicc.org/

 

The Office of National Statistics Covid-19 Monitoring Survey is open to any member of the population over the age of 2 and asks questions to understand the impact of COVID on people

More information and how to take part: https://www.ons.gov.uk/surveys/informationforhouseholdsandindividuals/householdandindividualsurveys/covid19infectionsurveycis/howtotakepart

 

Public Health Wales public engagement survey on health and wellbeing during COVID’ includes questions related to post covid recovery and longer symptoms‘

More information: https://phw.nhs.wales/news/public-health-wales-public-engagement-survey/

The Paediatric Psychology Service have developed this useful guide to help children recover from Covid and other illnesses:

Download a copy of the guide.