With nearly four million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, and a more contagious strain of the virus – B117 – in circulation, many people are thinking ahead to the possibility of contracting coronavirus and what the long COVID treatment and recovery process involves.
The first step of recovering from COVID-19 is to diagnose the virus, to ensure that you are not suffering from another infection or condition. Some symptoms of COVID-19 (including coughing, high temperature and post-viral fatigue) are very similar to symptoms of common respiratory diseases. Therefore it is important to take a COVID-19 test before beginning a recovery programme. At The Coker Chest Clinic, we offer private COVID-19 tests with same-day results in our convenient Central London location. You can find out more about our testing options here.
Recovering from acute COVID-19
Most people with COVID-19 will experience symptoms for between 2-14 days. This is an acute infection, with symptoms including:
- A continuous cough
- Loss of taste or smell
- Muscle pains
Otherwise healthy patients with an acute COVID-19 infection will likely make a full recovery with rest at home, plenty of liquids and a healthy diet. Unless the patient is elderly or has an underlying illness, it is unlikely that they will need to be submitted to hospital for treatment or monitoring.
However, 10% of patients who contract COVID-19 will experience long-term symptoms over 12 or more weeks. This is known as long COVID (previously known as ‘post-COVID syndrome’). These symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
- Pain of the muscles, chest and /or abdomen
Rehabilitation for long COVID
Long COVID will not disappear without treatment. However, due to overwhelmed public healthcare services, patients are unable to obtain adequate rehabilitation in order to get back to normal health.
Long COVID rehabilitation requires several elements:
A treatment plan tailored to the individual
Rehabilitation from long COVID requires treatment that is personalised to the individual, as the condition is experienced differently by each patient. For example, one patient may have only experienced breathlessness as a symptom, while another endures diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal pains; both patients must undergo rehabilitation, but will be prescribed different treatment plans.
A holistic approach to the condition
It is important to avoid treating only the symptoms of long COVID, as the condition may not improve without a comprehensive, holistic approach. At The Coker Chest Clinic, we monitor patients’ progress following diagnosis and prescription, and modify their treatment plan as appropriate.
A multi-disciplinary team
As with any serious condition, or a condition that is relatively new, it is essential that the patient’s case be discussed with the relevant specialists in order to obtain expert opinions regarding the treatment plan moving forward.
Case study: Long COVID
A patient booked a consultation at The Coker Chest Clinic, having spent six weeks in intensive care in a public hospital with acute COVID-19. Following his time spent in the ITU, he was discharged with very little follow-up support (if any). He was experiencing breathlessness, and initially believed this to be an effect of his three-stone weight loss and consequential weakness due to the severity of his COVID-19 infection.
After undergoing thorough tests at The Coker Chest Clinic, the patient was diagnosed with COVID pneumonitis, which refers to an inflammation of the lungs caused by COVID-19. We immediately issued a treatment plan, during which we monitored and reassessed his condition as appropriate. Within two months, we saw a vast improvement in his breathing and general health; within six months, the patient was back to normal health.
Long COVID treatment at The Coker Chest Clinic
At our Harley Street-based private clinic, we aim for full resolution in cases of long COVID. We are with our patients every step of the way, and provide regular monitoring to ensure that patients are on track to return to full health. With this in mind, it is important to note that the length of the rehabilitation process will vary from patient to patient. Factors include the age of the patient, existing health conditions, how long the patient has had COVID-19, the severity of symptoms, and compliance with our advice during the treatment plan. We have found that, with full compliance from patients, our rehabilitation plan is extremely successful in treating cases of long COVID.