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Long Covid is real, and employers are obliged to help

People who experienced or are experiencing long Covid have had it rough, not only because the symptoms can be debilitating, but also because the condition raises a lot of eyebrows and is not always recognised as real.

For months the medical world was not even aware that the COVID-19 virus could have long-term effects and until this was recognised, long Covid patients were rejected and bounced off from one therapist to another with no diagnosis.

Today, more than two years after the outbreak, it is still not understood why some people get long Covid and others do not, but there is no doubt that some patients can face incapacitating fatigue and other symptoms for weeks or months after they first contract the infection.

Business owners and other employers need to recognise that long Covid is a real condition which can have serious impacts on the workplace and their workforce. Since the symptoms of long Covid differ from patient to patient, they are sometimes looked at as personal if not psychological issues. It is important for employers to educate themselves about the matter to maintain good relations with their employees, and to legally safeguard their business.

Who gets long Covid?

Most people recover from Covid-19 within a couple of weeks but for some, the symptoms can last weeks and months after the infection is undetectable.

To date, there is no scientific explanation as to who is more susceptible to long Covid. The long-term symptoms of the disease are not even related to how symptomatic a patient is when they first contract COVID-19. People who experience no or very slight symptoms at first can still experience long-term symptoms of long Covid.

What are the symptoms of long Covid?

Long Covid symptoms vary a lot from patient to patient. They also come and go over time, with patients sometimes feeling a lot better, then suddenly getting worse again.

The list of symptoms is long and varied with some people reporting extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, racing heart, insomnia, brain fog, muscle, and joint pain, tinnitus, depression, coughs, and rashes.

What should employers be aware of?

Employers should be aware that the symptoms of long Covid vary, and that different patients can present a completely different set of indicators. They should also be aware that the symptoms come and go and that patients might feel well on some days, and suddenly very sick on other days. Employers need to recognise the condition as a real physiological one, and help employees feel included and accepted.

How can employers help?

  1. Be supportive. Do not belittle or question the symptoms that are being reported.

  2. Agree on how to best keep in touch with an employee during their time off sick.

  3. Make sure that their work does not accumulate whilst on sick leave, by adequately covering their workload.

  4. Since everyone is different, discuss how they can best be supported to be able to return to work when and where possible.

  5. If necessary, adapt the workplace or the nature of the employee’s work to accommodate the new reality, even if temporarily.

  6. Consider a phased return to work and remote working.

  7. Discuss what the employee prefers to tell their colleagues about their situation.

Long Covid might be hard to diagnose but as time goes by more and more research is being published and your GP is best placed to help you. If you are experiencing long Covid symptoms it is important that you take care of your health and your other conditions through routine check-ups and regular screenings.

If you would like information about our health screening, contact us today on +356 21221355, +356 9985 2404 or send an email on

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