Long COVID and You
Long COVID is tough. If you are in Canberra, we can help you manage your condition over a period of time.
Below, I share my expertise on Long COVID, its symptoms, diagnosis, and how a tailored approach to treatment can help improve the quality of life for those affected.
Also, please view the Long COVID talk below I gave in February 2023 to a group of Chronic Lung Condition patients.
What is Long COVID?
Long COVID, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), is a condition where individuals continue to experience symptoms or develop new ones after recovering from the acute phase of a COVID-19 infection. These lingering symptoms can last for weeks or even months, impacting the quality of life of those affected.
Symptoms of Long COVID
The symptoms of Long COVID can vary greatly from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Joint pain
- Brain fog or cognitive dysfunction
- Difficulty sleeping
- Heart palpitations
- Prolonged loss of taste or smell
- Depression or anxiety
Diagnosing Long COVID
Diagnosing Long COVID can be challenging, as there is currently no specific test for the condition. Healthcare professionals, like myself, will typically evaluate a patient's medical history and conduct a physical examination. We also perform various tests to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms.
A diagnosis of Long COVID is usually made by a Specialist if the symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
You may also develop symptoms consistent with Chronic Fatigue. Learn more about Chronic Fatigue Here.
How Accelr8 Rehab Can Help
At Accelr8 Rehab, we understand the unique challenges faced by individuals with Long COVID. Our tailored approach to treatment includes:
- Thorough assessment: We evaluate each patient's medical history, physical condition, and emotional well-being to create a personalised treatment plan.
- Exercise therapy: As an Exercise Physiologist, I design customised exercise programs to help patients regain strength, stamina, and overall physical function.
- Remedial massage: Our massage therapy can alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve circulation, promoting overall healing and recovery.
- Multidisciplinary support: We collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care, addressing all aspects of the patient's health.
Treatment Options for Long COVID
While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Long COVID, a multidisciplinary approach is often recommended. Some of the key components of an effective treatment plan include:
- Physical therapy: To improve muscle strength, mobility, and overall physical functioning.
- Occupational therapy: To address challenges in daily activities and support a return to work or school.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): To help manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- Cardiac rehabilitation: To address ongoing heart-related symptoms and reduce the risk of future heart problems.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: To improve lung function and reduce shortness of breath.
Preventing Long COVID
While it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of developing Long COVID, taking the following precautions can help reduce the risk:
- Get vaccinated: Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine can significantly reduce the likelihood of severe illness, hospitalisation, and Long COVID.
- Follow public health guidelines: Practice good hygiene, maintain physical distancing, and wear a mask in crowded places to minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Boost your immune system: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress levels.
- Seek medical attention early: If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, consult your healthcare provider promptly for evaluation and appropriate care.
Long COVID is a complex and challenging condition that affects many individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
At Accelr8 Rehab, we are committed to providing personalised care and support to help our patients navigate the path to recovery. By understanding the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available, patients can take control of their health and work towards a better quality of life.
By following preventative measures and staying informed, we can all contribute to the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and its long-term effects.
We've put together a list of resources for the management of Long COVID, with links to useful websites, information and articles.
The Post-COVID Recovery Clinic provides rehabilitation for people having long term problems after COVID-19 infection.
About this service
We provide rehabilitation for people after they have had COVID-19 and who have ongoing difficulty with:
- activities of daily living
- thinking, or
- are experiencing social, emotional, psychological or dietary concerns.
Who we care for
This service is available for ACT residents over the age of 16 who:
- have had a confirmed or probable COVID-19 infection and are still having difficulties 3 months after their infection
- have rehabilitation goals
- are medically able and willing to participate in a rehab program.
We offer these services for free if you have a Medicare Card or an Asylum Seeker Card.
How to access this service
Your GP or a specialist medical practitioner will need to refer you to access this service.
What to expect
We will assess you over the phone to get a better understanding of what you are having difficulty with.
After this we will provide some information to help you and your GP continue to manage your difficulties.
If needed, we will put you in a rehabilitation program to help you achieve your recovery goals. This rehabilitation program will include therapy and treatment, which will be provided mostly at the University of Canberra Hospital, but may also include seeing health care providers at Canberra Hospital or in the community.
You may have to have some additional tests to ensure we provide the most effective treatment to you.
What to bring to your appointment
- Medicare card
- Any letters or correspondence from your GP
- Health Care Card and/or concession card (if you have one)
- Private health insurance card (if applicable/if you want to use it)
- Medicines you need to take while you are here
- List of medicines you are currently taking (or the boxes), including medicines you have bought without a prescription, such as herbal supplements and vitamins
- Previous x-ray films, scans, ultrasounds or any other test results or reports
Canberra's long COVID sufferers want more funding for ...
Get help – Long-COVID Australia Collaboration
Around the world, people are working to better recognise, understand and treat Long-COVID. Most people recover from COVID-19 within several weeks, but some people may continue to experience symptoms which can affect multiple systems in the body, such as:
- Chest pain
- Muscle or joint pain
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations or tachycardia
- Post exertional malaise (PEM) (worsened symptoms after physical or mental exertion)
- Loss of smell or taste
- Body rash
- Cognitive impairment, including trouble thinking clearly, focusing, or remembering
- Depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep disturbance
For information and advice, you can call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. You can also find more information about symptoms and recovery from COVID-19 here.
Are you experiencing ongoing COVID-19 symptoms?
You can join the Australian Long-COVID Facebook community group, run by members of the Long-COVID Australia Collaboration Lived Experience group, here.
Please follow up with your regular GP if you are experiencing ongoing symptoms of COVID-19 illness. If you do not have a regular GP, you can find a GP practice in your area by visiting health direct. This resource for GPs describes some of the issues that GPs are managing in COVID-19 patients. Because Long-COVID is a new illness, it is unlikely that a single visit will be enough to treat your symptoms. For this reason, keeping in touch with a GP your trust throughout your recovery from COVID-19 is recommended.
Your GP may use Health Pathways to inform your care. You may also find it useful to read the World Health Organisation self-management guide for rehabilitation after COVID-19 illness. This guide provides information about recovery from COVID-19 and includes a symptom tracking diary (page 24) that you may wish to work through with your preferred GP or allied health professional.
ACT long-COVID clinic opens as health system prepares ...
Gloria Gardener spent a week and a half sleeping on her couch after she fell ill with COVID-19 in January.
- The ACT is bracing for more patients with long-COVID after infections peaked in January
- A rehabilitation medicine doctor says Canberra's high vaccination rate may reduce the incidence of the illness
- A new long-COVID clinic has opened, with physiotherapy, occupational therapy and counselling services
The 57-year-old now lives with "long-COVID", a condition defined by symptoms such as ongoing exhaustion, fatigue, headaches and loss of smell months after an initial infection.
"I used to do a lot of mountain bike riding, running and walking," Ms Gardiner said.
"I'm getting better now but, when I had COVID-19 … I couldn't walk up my stairs."
The ACT government has set up a new clinic to treat people like Ms Gardener, who have lingering COVID-19 symptoms.
The post-COVID recovery clinic is based in the University of Canberra Hospital at Bruce, and will treat people over the age of 16 who have COVID-19 symptoms more than 12 weeks after they first catch the virus.
Calls for more support for long covid patients
A LEADING virus expert has called for greater support for those affected by long covid, warning those with the condition have felt abandoned by the government.
Chief executive of the Burnet Institute Brendan Crabb told a parliamentary inquiry that future responses in how the country deals with covid should take into account those who have been dealing with long covid.
Long covid is defined where patients are still reporting symptoms or contracting new symptoms several months after their initial covid infection.
“The ones who are suffering, we don’t know the exact numbers… but the numbers are big, and of course they vary widely in severity” Prof Crabb told the inquiry on Monday.
“This is a group who feel left out of the discussion. Australia’s policy is largely based around acute covid, with trying to protect the vulnerable.”
Monday marks the start of the rollout for the fifth dose of the covid vaccine.
All adults who have not had a booster or an infection of covid in the past six months will be eligible for an additional dose protecting them from the virus.
Prof Crabb said an uptake of vaccine intake was needed in order to reduce the severity of covid among patients, along with reducing the impact of long covid.
Innovative rehab clinic helping Territory's long COVID patients
A specialty clinic at the University of Canberra Hospital is providing essential rehabilitation services for Canberrans suffering serious and lingering COVID-19 symptoms.
The Post COVID Recovery Clinic is assisting patients aged 16 and over who have symptoms of COVID-19 that impact their daily lives more than 12 weeks after contracting the virus.
ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the clinic is a fantastic example of how Canberra’s healthcare workers are turning innovative research into impactful healthcare.
“For many long COVID patients, the debilitating symptoms of the virus are compromising their quality of life,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
“The Post COVID Recovery Clinic is leading the nation in providing support to those affected by long COVID and helping them return to their day-to-day activities.”
Patients at the clinic are supported by a range of allied health professionals including a rehabilitation medicine specialist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, exercise physiologist and social worker.
“This clinic has such an important role to play in helping Canberrans get back to their family, friends, jobs and communities,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
“The ACT Government is committed to supporting Canberrans through the global pandemic, which is why we allocated a further $105 million to the COVID-19 health response in the budget review announced in March.”
Canberra Health Services is partnering with the University of Canberra on a research project into long COVID care at the clinic.
More information on the Post COVID Recovery clinic is available on the Canberra Health Services website.
New COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics for Canberra
Post COVID Recovery Clinic - Bruce ACT
The long COVID Clinic coordinates care for people experiencing significant symptoms three months after the initial COVID-19 infection such as fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath and brain fog.The clinical team reviews the patient's needs and recommends the most appropriate support and rehabilitation to manage ongoing care. This includes an appropriate treatment plan which may involve referring to other specialists or allied health services within the team.The clinic includes rehabilitation medicine specialists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, exercise physiologists and social workers.
Patients with suspected Long COVID syndrome when symptoms have not resolved after 12 weeks.
- COVID-19 testing sites
- Locations of COVID-19 testing sites including drive-through clinics, medical practices and hospitals.
- Government assistance
- Includes information about what government payments and services are available during and after a disaster.
Long COVID - ME/CFS Support Canberra
As the COVID 19 Pandemic affects more and more in our region we are seeing as a result more and more people living with long COVID.
Supports are available for people living with long COVID through the Long COVID clinic at the UC Rehabilitation Hospital
If symptoms persist or if the clinic is not for you, you may wish to undertake one of our self help programs for people living with ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia and Long COVID. The program runs every term and is a 8 week, one hour a week, program that assists you to reset your life, your goals, learn how to pace activities, and learn how to understand and communicate with others your needs. For more information email [email protected] and ask about our self help course. The course is run alternatively face to face one term and online the next. Face to face sessions occur in Pearce and in Bruce.
Further information regarding long COVID can be found in many media articles including this one from The Age