Symptoms of COVID-19
If you feel you are developing symptoms of COVID-19 then the NHS recommends that you get a COVID test to put your mind at rest or to start protecting yourself and others if you have tested positive. If you have the NHS app installed, you can book a test through the app instead; there is a symptom checker for COVID-19 that you can work through, which will indicate whether or not you need a free NHS COVID test and how to book one for yourself or a family member.
The UK Government website sets out the criteria for a free NHS COVID test - at least one of the following symptoms must apply:
- you have a high temperature
- you have a new, continuous cough
- you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
- you’ve been asked to by a local council
- you’re taking part in a government pilot project
You can also get a test for someone you live with if they have symptoms.
It is possible to pay for a private test if the above does not apply to you.
If you have symptoms, it is important to get a test as soon as possible. There are test centres open every day and it is also possible to order a home testing kit too. In England and Northern Ireland, you need to get the test done within the first 8 days of starting to show symptoms, with home test options on days 1 to 7. In Scotland and Wales the guidance is slightly different in that you would need to have a test done within 5 days, with home test options available for up to 4 days.
COVID-19 can affect different people in different ways. Short term recovery from COVID can be like recovery from flu or from a period of ill health. People in the UK who are taking longer to recovery describe symptoms that affect their mind as well as their body - these are symptoms of Long COVID
- Breathlessness - feeling like you need to stop to catch your breath more than you would normally do. or a tight feeling in your chest. It is associated with long term impact of lung damage, as well as anxiety. At Circle Rehabilitation, we can organise lung scans and appointments with respiratory specialist consultant doctors to assess the extent of lung issues
- Problems swallowing, especially if you are breathless. If you have had assisted breathing in hospital, your swallowing muscles may have 'deconditioned' or weakened
- Fatigue and severe fatigue - feeling more tired than you are usually or extreme fatigue you cannot otherwise explain. This is a common symptom often referenced by coronavirus patients. You may not feel like it, but some gentle exercise as part of a rehabilitation plan may help build your strength.
- The feeling your immune system is compromised - like your body's operating system is not working properly
- A dry cough that does not want to go away. An appointment with a respiratory physician at Circle Rehabilitation could assist in managing these symptoms
- Changes in taste and smell - these could be bland, salty, sweet or metallic, and could affect your appetite and the amount of food that you eat
- Joint and muscle problems, musculoskeletal shoulder, and back pain - people with Long COVID tend to move less, and this can cause aches and pains. At Circle Rehabilitation we provide a graded exercise plan to work on building strength gradually, with physiotherapist and occupational therapist colleagues
- Lasting organ damage or cardiovascular effects. At Circle Rehabilitation, our rehabilitation consultants and medical doctors can assess the extent of any visible damage or physiological damage to organs, arrange additional tests - including blood tests, MRI scans and CT scans - and devise a plan based on your goals.
- Feeling scared or anxious - knowing you have had COVID-19 can feel very frightening, especially when we see the effects on those around us. If you have been in hospital you may also associate the memory of struggling to breathe with the anxiety you felt, and remembering that may trigger new feelings of stress and anxiety
- Feeling sad, with low mood or frustration, a lack of motivation or not paying as much attention to yourself or things you used to enjoy
- 'Brain fog', problems with memory, or a lack of concentration. Having trouble focusing.