Long Covid sufferers will soon be recognized by the NHS and will offer treatment.
Those suffering from the so-called long Covid have reported shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, brain clouding and other complications including problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys and musculoskeletal problems – months after initially getting sick with the virus.
Some who suffer from persistent symptoms have not gotten seriously ill with the virus at any time or are in need of hospitalization, but have been sick for months.
Now the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (Sign) have said that a new guide is being developed to help guide care for people suffering from long-term complications.
Health care bodies will work with the Royal College of GPs to draft the guidelines, which will be published later this year.
They said there could be up to 60,000 people in the UK who have likely had Covid for some time.
Claire Hastie, founder of the Long Covid Support Group which has more than 24,000 followers on Facebook, welcomed the move but told the PA news agency it was “vital” that patients were involved in creating the guidelines.
Ms Hastie, who has lived with Covid for many months for a long time, said: “The guidelines cannot come soon enough.
“Too many of our members continue to be told by their GPs that their symptoms are caused by anxiety, but research has confirmed that even those with mild initial symptoms can suffer organ damage.
“Many of our members are bedridden or housebound for months and many are unable to work.
“Early intervention may have led to very different results.”
He said Covid clinics should be set up across the country to help people who suffer months after contracting the disease.
It is known that people of all ages suffer from long-term Covid.
Charlie Mountford-Hill said two of his children contracted the coronavirus in March, although the other three appeared to be avoiding it.
However, about a month later, everyone started experiencing symptoms of “long Covid”, including rashes, “Covid finger” and diarrhea.
Her youngest daughter, who has been hospitalized twice, was in so much pain that she begged “when will my stomach stop hurting?” every morning.
Paul Chrisp, director of the Center for Guidelines in Nice, said: “There is mounting evidence to suggest that Covid-19 is a multisystem disease that for many people involves persistent symptoms with long-term impacts on their health.
“It is important, therefore, that people who need ongoing support and treatment are identified quickly and are supported by the NHS at every stage of their journey.
“We also want to ensure that doctors have clear guidance on how to best support patients struggling with this new emerging disease.”
It comes after a prominent academic warned that the effects of the long Covid could prove to be a bigger public health problem than excess deaths.
A report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change recommends the government to highlight the issue in awareness campaigns.
In the foreword of the report, Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said that in the first months of the pandemic, little attention was paid to the infected population who were not sick enough to go to hospital, which made up 99% cases.
He said Covid-19 was found not just a bad flu, but in many people it behaved more like an autoimmune disease, affecting multiple systems in the body.
Professor Spector said the app launched in March by his group at King’s College London and the health science company ZOE to capture the widest range of symptoms people were experiencing received data from more than four million people. .
The researchers learned that “many people did not get better after two weeks as expected,” said prof. Spector.
He added: “We continued to follow them and found that a significant number still had problems after months.
“This is the other side of Covid: long-haul travel that could prove to be a bigger public health problem than excess deaths from Covid-19, which primarily affect sensitive seniors.”
The report states that long Covid seems rare among the under 18 and over 65, with a higher prevalence among those of working age.
The average age of those affected is 45 and it affects women more than men.