6% of adults in Ireland living with symptoms of long Covid – Naughten

New data released this week has found that 6% of adults in Ireland are living with self-reported symptoms of long Covid. The data is based on a survey carried out by leading polling company, Ireland Thinks, and was commissioned by Independent TD Denis Naughten.

Deputy Naughten recently called for long Covid to be recognised as an occupational hazard for frontline workers, and urged the Government to treat patients presenting with ongoing symptoms with the same urgency as the initial wave of infections.

Symptoms of long Covid include fatigue and brain fog, which are experienced at least twelve weeks after the initial infection for significant periods of time, in some cases over two years.

The HSE has recognised the need to treat patients with long Covid with plans in place since September 2021 to establish fourteen specialist long Covid centres across the country, but to date just one-third of the required staff have been recruited.

84% of those with symptoms of long Covid report that their ability to conduct daily activities has been reduced as a result. The most commonly reported symptom is fatigue (84%) followed by shortness of breath (59%), sleep problems (44%), memory problems (43%) and muscle ache (39%). Fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom among all age groups, bar 18-24, where shortness of breath is most frequently reported.

Commenting on the research, Deputy Denis Naughten said: “The findings released this week from the first comprehensive survey on the prevalence of long Covid in Ireland show the need to urgently address the care requirements of those who are suffering with this illness.

“We need to take a full-scale approach to treating long Covid – multidisciplinary clinics with involvement from respiratory specialists, infectious disease physicians, neurologists, cardiologists and psychologists who can provide patients with a comprehensive assessment and a holistic treatment plan.

“We know that recovery from long Covid is possible, but the Government must now step up and deploy every available resource promptly and without delay”, concluded Deputy Naughten.