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Long Covid: Did you know cognitive impairment is a sign? Symptoms to spot

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The NHS notes that how long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody, but many people feel better in a few days or weeks. The health body explains that the chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19, as “people who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems”.

The NHS says there are a number of neurological symptoms to look out for, which include cognitive impairment, which might be deemed “brain fog”.

Other people also report loss of concentration or memory issues, and there may be delirium (in older people).

Other possible signs are extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, problems with memory and concentration and difficulty sleeping.

The NHS says that other signs are heart palpitations, dizziness, joint pain, depression and anxiety and tinnitus or earaches.

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The health body says other signs can include feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite, a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste, or rashes.

It says you should see a GP if you’re worried about symptoms four weeks or more after having COVID-19.

The Mayo Clinic says: “Although COVID-19 is seen as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can also damage many other organs, including the heart, kidneys and the brain.

“Organ damage may lead to health complications that linger after COVID-19 illness.”

It adds: “In some people, lasting health effects may include long-term breathing problems, heart complications, chronic kidney impairment, stroke and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis.

“Some adults and children experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome after they have had COVID-19. In this condition, some organs and tissues become severely inflamed.”

The Mayo Clinic says: “Older people and people with many serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience lingering COVID-19 symptoms, but even young, otherwise healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection.”

The organisation notes that much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time, “but research is ongoing”.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says that there is no singular test for long Covid.

The BHF says: “Make an appointment to see your doctor if you are experiencing lasting symptoms after Covid.

“They may refer you for tests such as blood tests and other tests, which could help to show how long Covid is affecting you and how it could be treated, or it may even be that there is another cause for your symptoms.”

The charity notes chest pain is a common symptom of COVID-19, and some people are experiencing chest pain that lasts beyond their initial COVID-19 infection, or that starts in the weeks after they’ve had the virus.

It adds: “It’s important to remember that even if you have had COVID-19 and are now experiencing chest pain, it may not be related to the virus.”

Indeed, the charity says if you experience any new type of chest pain, it’s important to get medical advice, as chest pain can be a sign of something more serious, like a heart or lung problem.

It notes that a study by Imperial College London also found that long Covid tended to increase with age and was more likely to affect women.

The BHF adds: “There is some evidence that getting the vaccine could reduce long Covid in people who caught the virus before they were vaccinated.”

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