Click the puzzle below to watch videos on how to manage and prevent long COVID symptoms

Managing and preventing long COVID symptoms

Long COVID patients have helped design a series of 10 short animated films to support other patients with their recovery. Topics include how to manage some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 and long COVID, and tips on how you can help yourself to recover and prevent symptoms from continuing for longer.

The animations are called the ‘COVID Recovery Puzzle’ because long COVID patients have said that recovery can feel like putting the pieces of life back together again. Each film shares tools and practical tips and each piece of the puzzle is a different way to help your recovery.

The four ‘corners’ of the puzzle are the most important to wellbeing – boost your sleep, relaxed breathing, food for recovery and energy recharge. The remaining pieces guide you with physical activity, managing coughing, getting enough rest at the right time and the link between your mind and body.

You can watch the films in any order, depending on which you feel may be most relevant for you. You can use them as self-management guides.

The films are also available in Spanish and Portuguese.

I am hopeful that these videos will start family conversations because sometimes people don’t know how to talk about this issue.


What is long COVID?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the disease caused by the virus SARS-COV-2. It affects people in different ways and most people recover in the first three to four weeks. However, for some, symptoms can last for up to 12 weeks and sometimes even longer. This is known as ‘long COVID’.

People with long COVID report a wide range of symptoms that affect many parts of their mind and body. Sometimes, these symptoms are different from those people experience during the acute illness. Symptoms can be mild for some people, and more severe for others. They can also change over time.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness
  • Breathing difficulties and breathlessness
  • Chest pain or palpitations
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating and memory problems
  • Aches or pain in various parts of the body and muscles
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Worry/anxiety
  • Headache

Our understanding of COVID-19 and how to recover from it is improving all the time. Recovery is different for everyone. The information below has been created to give practical advice to help you recover from COVID-19 (or another flu-like viral illness) and prevent ongoing symptoms.

If you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms, or you have symptoms that have lasted for more than four weeks, it is important for you to seek medical help. There may be other things that could be causing your symptoms.

Contact your GP for support and advice. If you need urgent care call 111 or 999.

Remember these 3 things…

  • your body needs special care and attention to help it recover.
  • pushing through and ignoring symptoms could make recovery more difficult.
  • these short films guide you through different pieces of the recovery puzzle, providing practical tips that can help you manage or reduce your risk of long COVID symptoms.

Tell us what you think

We’d really appreciate your feedback on our films. Your opinions can help us to improve our information for other people.

Complete a short online survey by clicking here

The South East London Long COVID Programme is a two-year programme, which ran from 2022 to 2024, funded by NHS Charities Together and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. It covers all five NHS Trusts in south east London and their hospital charities, with the aim of accelerating the recovery of people with Long COVID across the six boroughs of south east London.

The Jigsaw puzzle images are reproduced here with the kind permission of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

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