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What is Post-COVID syndrome / Long COVID?

Long Covid - man lying down copyright Unsplash
Long Covid symptoms

Some people who contract COVID-19, even if they have experienced mild symptoms, can not recover fully from the effects of the virus. They may continue to experience symptoms, months after initially falling ill. Patients may continue to have wide-ranging and fluctuating problems including breathlessness, chronic fatigue, “brain fog”, weakness and insomnia and dizziness.

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Post-COVID or long COVID syndrome is defined as a number of symptoms that develop during or following an infection consistent with COVID-19. They would continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

People experience several clusters of symptoms, often overlapping. These may fluctuate, and can affect any system within the body. Many people with post-COVID syndrome experience generalised pain, fatigue, persisting high temperature and psychiatric problems. Long term effects of the illness can be debilitating, even for young and fit people, who had mild covid symptoms at the time of infection, and who did not initially go to hospital.

Symptoms of Long Covid

Common symptoms may include:

● Debilitating fatigue

● Intermittent fevers

● Breathlessness, dry cough, ‘lung burn’

● Palpitations or cardiac arrhythmias/heart rhythm disturbances, chest pain

● Loss of smell or taste and sometimes a distorted sense of smell (parosmia)

● Abdominal pain and diarrhoea

● Skin rashes and ‘covid toes’ - where toes look bruised

These symptoms may fluctuate or be consistent. Many Long Covid sufferers also experience post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) symptoms.

These include:

● Activity-induced muscle fatigue, weakness and muscle twitching

● Muscle, nerve and joint pains but without joint redness or swelling

● Headaches

● ‘Brain fog’ or cognitive dysfunction

● Sensory disturbances such as intolerance to light, sounds, heat or cold

● Dysautonomia – dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. These can include

increased pulse rate, orthostatic intolerance - dizziness, fatigue and other symptoms on standing , postural hypotension and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome/PoTS

● Unrefreshing sleep, which may include excessive sleep

● Problems with temperature regulation - feeling too hot or cold and inability to maintain a stable temperature.

● Post-exertional malaise (PEM), exhaustion after performing basic tasks, such as brushing teeth, or walking up stairs which is not adequately relieved by rest or sleep.

Testing for Long Covid

If you experience prolonged symptoms after contracting Covid, it is important to visit your GP. They will ask about your symptoms and the impact they have on your life. They may suggest tests to find out more about your symptoms and rule out other things that

could be causing them. These may include blood tests, checking your blood pressure and heart rate or a chest X-ray. Unfortunately, there are no definitive tests for long covid at the moment.

It is not known how many people experience Long COVID symptoms, as the illness is so new and research is ongoing. It is estimated that over 70,000 people in the UK are experiencing Long COVID, although this is likely to be higher and will grow as coronavirus infection rates rise.

Treatment for Long Covid

Your GP may be given advice about how to manage and monitor your symptoms at home. If you are severely impacted by long covid symptoms, you may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service or a service that specialises in the specific symptoms you have. These services can help manage your symptoms and live well within the limits of your illness but however there is no definitive treatment for recovery, and researchers continue to try to find a cure.

The symptoms of Long Covid are very similar to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). The advice is also similar:

● Pace yourself - plan what you’re going to do throughout the day and don’t over-exert yourself.

● Try to break tasks which feel difficult down into smaller chunks, and alternate easier and harder activities.

● Consider the best time of the day to do certain activities based on your energy levels.

● Frequent short rests are better than a few longer ones, so rest before you become exhausted.

● As with ME, patients should not overexert themselves as this can cause symptoms to

get worse and with temporary or permanent effect. They should physically and mentally

rest where needed.

The ME Association has supported people with post viral fatigue and ME/ CFS for a number of years. They have brought out a leaflet about Long Covid which provides information and further advice.

You can also find out more advice here:

甚麼是後冠狀病毒綜合症/長遠冠狀病毒影響 (Long COVID)?





可持續多於12個星期,及不能斷診為其他病症。 有此病症的人會經歷不同組合,而又會






  • 衰弱疲累

  • 間歇性發燒

  • 氣喘、乾咳、肺部感到灼痛

  • 心悸或心律失常、胸部疼痛

  • 失去味覺或出現異常嗅覺 (parosmia)

  • 腹部疼痛和腹瀉

  • 皮疹和“冠狀病毒腳趾” ─ 腳趾看起來有瘀傷


viral fatigue syndrome) 或肌痛性腦脊髓炎/雅皮士流感 (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis),亦

稱為「慢性疲勞綜合症」(Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ),徵狀包括:

  • 活動引致的肌肉疲勞、虛弱及肌肉抽搐

  • 肌肉、神經及關節疼痛但關節沒有出現紅腫

  • 頭痛

  • 思想模糊或認知功能障礙

  • 感官障礙

  • 自主神經紊亂 – 這是自主神經系統的障礙,這些可包括脈搏跳率上升、「直立性低血壓」 (Orthostatic intolerance)、「體立性低血壓」 (postural hypotension) 及「姿勢性直立心搏過速症候群」(Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)。 

  • 睡眠後仍感到不飽滿,也可包括過度睡眠。

  • 調節體溫困難

  • 勞動後不適 (Post-exertional malaise (PEM) or symptom exacerbation














長冠狀病毒的徵狀與或「肌痛性腦脊髓炎」/「雅皮士流感 」(Myalgic Encephalomyelitis),亦稱為「慢性疲勞綜合症」(Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ) 的徵狀極相近,因此,管理建議亦相近:

  • 調整你的生活步伐 ─ 計劃你整日的行程,不要令自己過份勞累。

  • 嘗試將你認為困難的工作分成較小部份,及將容易和困難的活動交替進行。

  • 根據你一天的能量來計劃什麼時候應做什麼的活動。

  • 頻繁的短暫休息較幾次長時間休息為好,所以,在你精疲力竭前休息。

  • 切記不要令自己過份勞累,這只會令症徵更嚴重及引至短暫或永久的後果。在有需


肌痛性腦脊髓炎協會 (ME Association) 曾支援不少患有肌痛性腦脊髓炎的人仕,他們出






甚么是后冠状病毒综合症/长远冠状病毒影响 (Long COVID)?

一些曾感染了冠状病毒的人士并不能完全康复,即管他们只有轻微的征状。 他们可在感



后冠状病毒综合症或长冠状病毒是形容在感染冠状病毒期间或之后出现的征状。 这些征

状可持续多于12个星期,及不能断诊为其他病症。 有此病症的人会经历不同组合,而又

会重叠的征状。 这些征状会出现波动及可能影响身体中不同的系统。 许多患有后冠状病

毒综合症的人会经历头痛、疲累、持续高温和精神问题。 这病症的长期影响是会使人衰



  • 衰弱疲累

  • 间歇性发烧

  • 气喘、干咳、肺部感到灼痛

  • 心悸或心律失常、胸部疼痛

  • 失去味觉或出现异常嗅觉(parosmia)

  • 腹部疼痛和腹泻

  • 皮疹和"冠状病毒脚趾" ─ 脚趾看起来有瘀伤

这些征状可间歇或持续出现。 很多长冠状病毒患者亦会出现「病毒后疲劳综合症」(post-viral fatigue syndrome) 或「肌痛性脑脊髓炎/雅皮士流感 (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis),亦称

为「慢性疲劳综合症」(Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ),征状包括:

  • 活动引致的肌肉疲劳、虚弱及肌肉抽搐

  • 肌肉、神经及关节疼痛但关节没有出现红肿

  • 头痛

  • 思想模糊或认知功能障碍

  • 感官障碍

  • 自主神经紊乱 – 这是自主神经系统的障碍,这些可包括脉搏跳率上升、「直立性低

  • 血压」 (Orthostatic intolerance)、「体立性低血压」 (postural hypotension) 及「姿势性直

  • 立心动过速症候群」 (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)。 

  • 睡眠后仍感到不饱满,也可包括过度睡眠。

  • 调节体温困难

  • 劳动后不适 (Post-exertional malaise (PEM) or symptom exacerbation


若你在感染冠状病毒后呈现延长征状,便应约见家庭医生。 他们会去了解你的征状及这

些征状对你生活的影响。 他们或会建议你进行一些检测以更能精确地诊断你的病症及撇

除其他可呈现类似征状的病症。 这些检测可以是检血、量血压及心跳或为胸部照X光镜片

。 遗憾的是,现时还未有针对的长冠状病毒检测。

由于这是新的病毒及研究还在进行中,所以现时未知有多少人经历长冠状病毒征状。 据




你的家庭医生或可提供一些如何在家中管理及监测你的征状。 若你受到严重的影响,你


这些服务能协助你管理这些征状及在这个病症的限制下生活得好些。 现时并没有能有効


长冠状病毒的征状与或「肌痛性脑脊髓炎」/「雅皮士流感 」(Myalgic Encephalomyelitis),

亦称为「慢性疲劳综合症」(Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ) 的征状极相近,因此,管理建议亦


  • 调整你的生活步伐 - 计划你整日的行程,不要令自己过份劳累。

  • 尝试将你认为困难的工作分成较小部份,及将容易和困难的活动交替进行。

  • 根据你一天的能量来计划什么时候应做什么的活动。

  • 频繁的短暂休息较几次长时间休息为好,所以,在你精疲力竭前休息。

  • 切记不要令自己过份劳累,这只会令症征更严重及引至短暂或永久的后果。 在有需要时,要令身及心休息。

肌痛性脑脊髓炎协会 (ME Association) 曾支持不少患有肌痛性脑脊髓炎的人仕,他们出版




络。 若你需要病毒检测或呈现冠状病毒征状,我们可转介你到适合服务。


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