Symptoms, complications and management of long COVID: a review

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  • TLC Study Group

Colleges, School and Institutes


Globally, there are now over 160 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 3 million deaths. While the majority of infected individuals recover, a significant proportion continue to experience symptoms and complications after their acute illness. Patients with ‘long COVID’ experience a wide range of physical and mental/psychological symptoms. Pooled prevalence data showed the 10 most prevalent reported symptoms were fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, cough, chest pain, altered smell, altered taste, and diarrhoea. Other common symptoms were cognitive impairment, memory loss, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Beyond symptoms and complications, people with long COVID often reported impaired quality of life, mental health and employment issues. These individuals may require multidisciplinary care involving the long-term monitoring of symptoms, to identify potential complications, physical rehabilitation, mental health and social services support. Resilient healthcare systems are needed to ensure efficient and effective responses to future health challenges.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Early online date15 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jul 2021


  • epidemiology, health service research, infectious diseases, public health, respiratory medicine, COVID-19, long COVID, post-COVID-19 syndrome, persistent COVID-19 symptoms

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