How long do Covid symptoms last?
Most people with mild Covid-19 feel better within one to two weeks of noticing symptoms, and are fully recovered within three months.
While most people who get Covid-19 recover quickly, for some the effects of the virus can last for much longer, or new symptoms can develop. This is called ‘long Covid’.
What is long Covid?
Long Covid is a term to describe the effects of Covid-19 that last for several weeks or months beyond the initial illness.
The World Health Organization defines long Covid as symptoms that start (usually) within three months of having Covid, last for at least two months, and can’t be explained by another condition. Symptoms can fluctuate or relapse over time.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), says that the term ‘long Covid’ can also include a long-lasting Covid illness – that is, Covid-19 symptoms that last for 4-12 weeks after infection.
More research is being carried out to understand the symptoms of long Covid and how to best treat them.
How long does long Covid last?
There have been reports of long Covid symptoms lasting from three months, up to two years or more. We’re still learning more about how long the illness typically lasts, and we know that this varies between people.
As of 5 March 2023, an estimated 1.9 million people in the UK were experiencing self-reported long Covid. Of those people:
92% had been experiencing long Covid symptoms for at least 3 months
69% had been experiencing long Covid symptoms for at least a year
41% had been experiencing long Covid symptoms for at least two years