Long Covid

The recovery rate from coronavirus can differ from person to person. Some have felt better in a week or two, some unfortunately have had symptoms that have lasted longer.

Long Covid is described as the long-term effects some people are experiencing following on from having coronavirus.

The health watchdog NICE says Long Covid is where people have symptoms of Covid that are lasting for 12 weeks or more.

Following medical research carried out, long-term symptoms of Covid are not necessarily linked to how ill someone has been when they contracted the virus, people who only had mild symptoms have still been experiencing long term health issues.

Of the people who have tested positive for Covid19, on average one in five have had symptoms that have lasted for five weeks or more and one in ten have had symptoms lasting for 12 weeks or more.

What are the symptoms of Long Covid

The lasting symptoms of Long Covid can include:

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • anxiety and depression
  • problems with memory and concentration
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations or chest pain
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • sickness or diarrhoea,
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, sneezing or changes to sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

Currently there is no research that shows how long it takes to recover from Long Covid.

Long Covid is not contagious, the symptoms are caused by a response to the virus that continues past the initial contagious and illness stage.

Ways to help manage symptoms of Long Covid

  • Don’t over do things, plan what needs to be done and when to do it. See which are your best times of the day and try to do things to match energy levels
  • Take frequent short rests when possible so you are resting before you become exhausted
  • Don’t stop doing things, muscles need to keep being used or they will become weak
  • Increase gradually the amount of exercise you are able to do, short distance walks or stretches are a good starting point

What can employers do to help?

Employers can help support any employees suffering from Long Covid by:

  • Talking to employees who have Long-Covid symptoms and consider whether there are any reasonable adjustments that can be made to help ease the problems they are experiencing. Adjustments can include things such as allowing a phased return to work after any sickness absence, a temporary change to their working hours and the type of work they are doing for a short period of time and allowing employees to work from home if they can.
  • Provide support via employee assistance programmes or occupational health assistance.
  • Provide training for managers on the importance of applying policies and procedures in a non-discriminatory way.
  • Consider putting employees who are off sick with Long Covid on furlough leave if possible. Government guidance states employers are able to furlough employees for business reasons when they are off sick if they wish to do so, however this should not be used for short-term sickness.
  • Talk to the business insurance provider to find out what approach they are taking towards Long Covid.

It is not yet known whether or not Long Covid will become a disability under the disability discrimination law.

If you would like further guidance on supporting employees in the workplace or any HR topics please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk

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