A cross-sectional study of symptom prevalence, frequency, severity, and impact of long-COVID in Scotland: part II

Marie Mclaughlin*, Luke Cerexhe, Eilidh Macdonald, Joanne Ingram, Nilihan E.M. Sanal-Hayes, Lawrence D. Hayes, Rachel Meach, David Carless, Nicholas Sculthorpe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
There has been some effort to map the prevalence, frequency, and severity of symptoms of long COVID at local and national levels. However, what is frequently absent from such accounts is details of the impact the disease and its symptoms have had on those living with the condition. In this article, we present details of the impact on work, caring, and mental health gathered using a cross-sectional survey.

Methods
Data were collected using an online survey that was available from April 21, 2022, to August 5, 2022. Included participants had either self-diagnosed or confirmed long COVID, were living in Scotland, and were aged ≥18 years. Hospitalization during initial COVID-19 infection was an exclusion criterion. Participants were asked to report on the impact of their illness on everyday activities such as working, studying, or caring. They also completed an assessment of their current mood.

Results
People with long COVID were often severely impacted in their ability to work and study. Severe impact on work and study were predicted by more severe and more frequent fatigue, more severe pain, and more severe cognitive impairment. Respondents’ ability to care for child dependents was also associated with more severe and more frequent fatigue, and more severe cognitive impairments. More severe pain associated with greater impact on adult care. Negative mood correlated most strongly with frequency and severity of neurological symptoms, including lack of attention, loss of smell, impaired sense of smell, loss of taste, impaired sense of taste, and loss of appetite.

Conclusions
Long COVID has a significant impact on ability to work, study, and care for dependents. The severity of this impact is associated with specific symptom burden, including fatigue, pain, and cognitive impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalThe American Journal of Medicine
Early online date20 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • long COVID
  • post-acute infection syndrome
  • post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • survey
  • symptoms

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