Long Covid warning: Seven factors that increase your risk of getting it


The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) set the bar as four weeks of continuous symptoms that qualify for the title of long Covid. What puts you at increased risk of the Covid after effect? King College London’s (KCL) Professor of clinical endocrinology, Emma Duncan, pointed out that being “very sick” with Covid could lead to long Covid. Another risk factor for the long-lasting disease is whether you were “frail before contracting the virus”.

“And if you are unlucky enough to get COVID after vaccination, your risk of developing long COVID is dramatically reduced – and that’s true in all age groups.”

Seven risk factors for developing long Covid

  1. Really sick with Covid infection
  2. Was frail before a Covid infection
  3. Older age
  4. You’re a woman
  5. You have asthma
  6. You’re in poor physical health
  7. You’re in poor mental health.

Professor Duncan explains that “this is not the first, or the only illness, that can have prolonged effects”.

“I think we can build on research done in other illnesses to help us understand long COVID,” she said.

Professor Duncan hopes further research will lead to treatment strategies to help those suffering from long-term effects.

Ongoing clinical trials are currently testing whether blood thinners, or statins, could benefit people who have long Covid.

“One size is not going to fit all when it comes to treating long COVID,” said Professor Duncan.

This is why “understanding the causes” of long Covid that apply to specific people can lead to tailored solutions.

To continue learning about this global disease and long Covid, the team at KCL urge people to log their symptoms – if applicable – on their app.

The ZOE Covid Study app is available to download for free on smart phones.

Long Covid symptoms

So far, long Covid can lead to feelings of fatigue, headache, runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat.



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