Almost half of patients suffering from 'long Covid' may be left unable to fully return to work six months after their infection, a study suggests.
Victims were most likely to still be plagued with fatigue, 'brain fog' or feeling unwell after attempting minor physical exercise.
Long Covid strikes one in ten under-50s who are infected with Covid-19, according estimates. But studies have suggested women are 50 per cent more likely to suffer with persistent symptoms than men.
Experts warn the NHS could face crippling demand from long Covid patients when the pandemic comes to an end, given that millions of Britons have already caught the disease.
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Scientists have revealed that the risk of suffering symptoms of coronavirus for long Covid patients drops over time, but that many may be unable to return to work for six months
Jade, 23, has been unable to return to work
Jade, 23, from Whitney in Oxfordshire, has been unable to return to work since catching the virus. She has no underlying health conditions.
When did you catch the virus? March
What was your illness like? Jade's symptoms started with a tight chest and a sore throat, which also led to a dry hacking continuous cough.
As the week continued, she got a high temperature, awful headaches and flu-like symptoms. This progressed to feeling a tightness in her chest, which led to her struggling to breathe.
She was admitted to hospital for one night for antibiotics and fluids through an IV line.
How long have you had 'long Covid'? Seven months
What are your symptoms like now? Jade said she can no longer work and suffers chronic fatigue, muscle aches, fevers, nausea and a fluctuating heart rate. Each day is different; some are easier than others but her symptoms are always persistent.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'I didn't think I would get it as bad as I did,' Jade said. 'I haven't had a day since mid-March where I've felt better.'
'I'm having to rest more sleep more and i just don't have the energy that I used to at all.
'I really hope that I go back to my normal self, not knowing makes me feel really worried about my future.'
What was your life like before? Jade said she was active and sociable, always going out with her friends and family.
Researchers from the group Patient-Led Research for Covid-19 investigated the impact of long Covid by surveying more than 3,700 patients complaining of persistent symptoms.
They found 1,665 - or 45 per cent - said they had a 'reduced' work schedule than before they became unwell.
And 825 - or 22.3 per cent - were not working due to health conditions, although the researchers didn't say whether this was due to the virus or an underlying factor present before they were infected.
Up to 317 - or eight per cent - said their symptoms had become severe enough for them to be admitted to hospital, and 1,312 - or 35 per cent - said they had visited A&E due to symptoms.
NHS England guidance warns Covid-19 sufferers should call an ambulance if their symptoms get worse or last for longer than seven days.
They add severe shortness of breath, coughing up blood, blue lips or face, feeling clammy and cold, collapsing, becoming difficult to rouse, feeling confused and not visiting the toilet often are also warning signs patients should be heading to A&E units.
But in the survey participants didn't say what symptoms had led to them attending hospital.
More than half of all patients surveyed - 2,454 or 66 per cent - were still suffering at least one symptom of coronavirus six