What happens to you after COVID infection?

Clinicians and scientists globally are working to find out what happens to people as they recover. They are also trying to identify any long-term problems that occur. They are trying to work out what treatments work and how to help future disease.

It is unknown what will happen to people as they recover, however, there is some information to help from other countries as well. Doctors and scientists are also using knowledge from recovery from other types of pneumonia.

Severe COVID disease is defined by the level of respiratory support individuals needed when in hospital. This could be where individuals needed a lot of extra oxygen or a bedside machine to help breathing but were able to breathe for themselves. It could also be where they were put on a ventilator that breathed for them for a period of time. These patients are looked after on an intensive care unit.

There are known consequences on many aspects of the body when someone needs a ventilator for more than two days.

Other admissions to hospital are currently described as ‘mild to moderate’ COVID disease.

These terms are used as guidelines to help decide what type of clinical follow up care is needed.

What might happen to me?

Every individual’s experience is unique.

There are many symptoms caused by the acute illness. Common symptoms include cough, fevers, muscle aches, and lethargy (tiredness / fatigue). Some people experienced breathlessness. Symptoms of loss of taste and loss of smell were common. The latter symptoms are less common with other viruses.

Many people will make a full recovery. It may take weeks to a few months. We expect that some people will have ongoing symptoms of cough, breathlessness, poor or reduced sleep, fatigue, anxiety and low mood.