Some COVID-19 Symptoms Last for Months, Study Finds

Ralph Ellis

August 26, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

A British study says many coronavirus patients suffer symptoms such as breathlessness, excessive fatigue, and muscle aches for months after being treated at a hospital.

"Three quarters of a group of patients who received care for coronavirus at Bristol's Southmead Hospital were still suffering ongoing symptoms three months later," according to a news release from the hospital.

"Researchers at North Bristol NHS Trust found that 81 out of 110 discharged patients were still experiencing symptoms such as breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches when invited back to clinic."

Though most patients reported improvements in initial symptoms such as fever, cough, and sense of smell, a large number still had quality of life issues, the release said. They struggled to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing, and going back to work.

"This research helps to describe what many coronavirus patients have been telling us: they are still breathless, tired, and not sleeping well months after admission," said Dr David Arnold from North Bristol NHS Trust. "Reassuringly, however, abnormalities on X-rays and breathing tests are rare in this group."

The findings are part of the hospital's DISCOVER project, the first of its kind, into the longer-term effects of coronavirus.

The list of coronavirus symptoms has enlarged as doctors learn more about the virus.

The CDC says people may have the virus if they experience fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

People should seek emergency medical care if they experience trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.


North Bristol NHS Trust. "Southmead Hospital publishes pioneering research on long term effects of coronavirus"

CDC. Symptoms of Coronavirus