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by Louise Wilson
18 December 2020
Long COVID clinical guidelines published

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Long COVID clinical guidelines published

New clinical guidelines for the management of long COVID have been published.

The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Royal College of GPs have recommended providing extra support to access care for those experiencing ongoing symptoms of COVID beyond the first four weeks.

While most people recover within two weeks of falling ill with coronavirus, a sizeable minority of patients have continued to experience symptoms for months afterwards.

These include shortness of breath, fatigue, and problems involving the heart, lungs, kidneys, nervous system and muscles and joints.

The guidelines say those who have not fully recovered four to 12 weeks after the start of acute symptoms may have ongoing symptomatic COVID-19.

Those whose symptoms continue after 12 weeks may have post-COVID syndrome.

Safia Qureshi, director of evidence for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “The publication of today’s guideline is an important stage in making sure that people who are experiencing long-term effects from COVID-19 get the right care and support that they need.

“We appreciate how difficult it must be for people to face so much uncertainty with this condition and the significant impact it can have on people’s quality of life.”

Raising awareness and promoting pro-actively following up with patients from vulnerable or high-risk groups is included in the guidance.

It also covers guidance on planning care and management of symptoms, including through self-management and rehabilitation services.

The recommendations will be kept under review as further evidence emerges on long COVID.

Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Martin Marshall, said: “COVID-19 is a new virus, and long COVID a new illness, so this is just a starting point and as more research is done and new evidence emerges, these guidelines will be updated.”

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