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Long-term health effects of COVID-19

The majority of people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms and moderate illness and recover within 2-3 weeks without treatment. However, some experience various long-term effects or recurring symptoms following initial recovery.

On long-term health effects of COVID-19

What are the long-term effects of COVID-19?

Most people who have had COVID-19 recover and return to their everyday life. However, for some people, symptoms may linger beyond 2-3 weeks, for example, fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, chest pain, cough and loss of taste and smell. 

For some, these symptoms persist for such a long time that they are defined as long-term effects. The symptoms affect the individual very differently. Some will be able to continue their daily lives as they usually would, while others experience lasting effects that prevent them from regaining their previous health.

 

Who experience long-term effects of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can result in long-term effects regardless of whether you have had a mild case or a severe course of the illness, been hospitalised or received intensive care.  

Long-term health effects can affect people of age groups and are evident in those who have a chronic disease as well as in those who were perfectly healthy before they got COVID-19.

 

How much do we know about long-term effects?

As COVID-19 is a new disease, we still have only limited knowledge and research results about long-term effects after COVID-19. It is therefore not yet clear why some people experience long-term effects while others do not. 

It is too early to say anything about the duration of these long-term effects, but the assessment is that they will decrease gradually in the vast majority of cases. There is nothing to suggest that you cannot recover completely.

 

Can I be treated for long-term effects?

Most people who experience lingering long-term effects of COVID-19 will find that these effects gradually disappear again. However, some people have such complex long-term effects that they may need to be treated in one of the so-called COVID-19 long-term effects clinics at a hospital.

If you have symptoms that you think might be long-term effects of COVID-19, please call your doctor for a medical assessment.

 

How will I know if the symptoms I have are the long-term effects of COVID-19?

At the start of the epidemic in Denmark, people with mild symptoms of COVID-19 were not necessarily tested but told to self-isolate instead. Therefore, some people will have been ill with COVID-19 without having been tested positive, and some of these people may still experience symptoms that are compatible with the long-term effects of COVID-19.

If you are in doubt, please call your doctor for a clinical assessment of your symptoms. 
 
Updated 10 NOV 2020