More than 50% of COVID-19 patients have ongoing fatigue, according to study

17 September 2020, 15:30

The study found that fatigue was present regardless of whether the person had been admitted to hospital
The study found that fatigue was present regardless of whether the person had been admitted to hospital. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

More than half of people who have had coronavirus suffer persistent fatigue afterwards, new study findings suggest.

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin found that people are still reporting tiredness and exhaustion more than 10 weeks after recovering from the illness, regardless of the severity of their infection.

Led by Dr Liam Townsend, the data showed 52% of 128 people surveyed were still suffering fatigue.

The group was typically aged around 50 and were 54% female. Seventy-one had been admitted to hospital, while the remaining hadn't - although this did not appear to affect the levels of tiredness.

READ MORE: 'Long covid' sufferers tell of battling debilitating symptoms that last for months

It comes as numerous previous patients of Covid-19 have come out in recent weeks to share their stories of "Long Covid" as they describe ongoing life-changing symptoms.

One sufferer, Amy Durant, told LBC her life had changed "completely" after experiencing "debilitating fatigue" long after the initial illness had cleared up.

She said: "I can’t exercise. Occasionally I leave the house because I am desperate to go for a walk but it usually results in the next few days being bedridden.

"I can’t work a lot of the time."

READ MORE: Long covid sufferers 'have symptoms for more than three months'

The Trinity study, which used a commonly-used scale to determine levels of fatigue, found that two-thirds of people who reported persistent tiredness were women.

It also found that fatigue occurred "independent of admission to hospital" in both groups.

READ MORE: GPs 'recorded three times more suspected cases of COVID-19 than official figures'

"Our findings demonstrate a significant burden of post-viral fatigue in individuals with previous Sars-CoV-2 infection after the acute phase of Covid-19 illness," the study authors said.

"This study highlights the importance of assessing those recovering from Covid-19 for symptoms of severe fatigue, irrespective of severity of initial illness, and may identify a group worthy of further study and early intervention.

"It also supports the use of non-pharmacological interventions for fatigue management.

"These interventions will need to be tailored to the individual needs of the patients, and may include lifestyle modification, cognitive behavioural therapy and self-pacing exercise, where tolerated."

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