Long COVID: What action should employers be taking?

July 28 2021

One of the ongoing concerns about the pandemic is Long COVID – a condition which involves long-term symptoms that can last for weeks or months after initially contracting the disease.

Also known as Post COVID-19 Syndrome and Long-tail COVID and it can affect an employee’s ability to work or cause them to take sickness absence.

Reports have shown that 90% of people who have had COVID report at least one symptom remaining nearly two months after becoming sick, and more than half say they still feel fatigued.

What can employers expect?

Long COVID symptoms can appear in many forms and there is no definitive list – it can vary from person to person, but the symptoms can include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain 
  • Tight chest
  • “brain fog” or trouble remembering things
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Generalised aches and pains and joint pain
  • Anxiety
  • Ear problems including pain and ringing in your ears
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach ache
  • Loss of appetites
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Rashes and hair loss
  • Changes to smell or taste
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes

Employees could be affected by any, or many, of the symptoms and they may also come and go.

Supporting your employees

If your employees are off for an extended period of time due to Long-COVID ensure they are not isolated and that you have a strategy in place to keep in touch and monitor the situation.

If you have employees who have previously been diagnosed with COVID and are still experiencing symptoms, they may benefit from Long Covid care as they prepare to return to work. 

Get an occupational health assessment which can look at how you can support an employee back into work, adapt their job role if needed and put strategies in place for any relevant ongoing support or care.

Occupational health specialists are keeping fully abreast of the latest developments in Long-COVID research and are able to provide employers with the right support as workplaces move forward following the pandemic.

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