Managing long Covid in general practice

23rd March 2021 by Dr Louise Hudman

Managing long Covid in general practice

This is a new guideline from NICE on managing the long term effects of COVID-19, published in December 2020.

What does this eagerly awaited guideline tell us that is new? In summary, not a lot. The most useful bit for me was on the investigations that are advised. Basically, listen to people, be holistic, manage any urgent symptoms, do a few tests if you need to and then signpost them to self-help material, or refer them on as appropriate.

It is worth bearing in mind that this is a ‘Live’ guideline. There is just very little evidence at present to guide what we should be doing. As more research is done and as time goes by, the guideline will evolve. I will summarise some of the key points. I am assuming that we all know to be inclusive and to treat patients as individuals and to be holistic and will therefore leave these bits of the guideline out.

Definitions:
  • Acute COVID-19 – up to four weeks after initial infection.
  • Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 – four to 12w after initial infection.
  • Post COVID-19 syndrome – 12w or more after initial infection.
  • Long Covid – this refers to both ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 and post COVID-19 syndrome (ie more than 4w after initial infection).

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