Long Covid symptoms revealed as one in 10 infected secondary school pupils suffer

ONE in 10 secondary school pupils who have caught coronavirus are suffering from Long Covid, a study has found.

Meanwhile more than a third of school staff who have caught the bug have suffered from ongoing symptoms beyond the normal length of time, data from the Office for National Statistics showed.

The most common Long Covid symptoms suffered by students and teachers were tiredness and a general feeling of weakness.

The study included nearly 3,500 pupils and over 1,600 staff members from primary and secondary schools.

It found that around 35.7 per cent of teachers and 12.3 per cent of secondary pupils reported experiencing Long Covid symptoms.

Among those who said they had Long Covid symptoms, 15.5 per cent of staff and 9.4 per cent of secondary students said their ability to carry out day-to-day activities had been significantly reduced.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This survey data reveals the largely hidden long-term effects of Covid on both students and school and college staff.

“It is pleasing to note that, despite suffering ongoing and debilitating symptoms, more than half of the staff and young people who responded to the survey had returned to the classroom within four weeks of initially testing positive.

“We obviously have concerns about the number of staff reporting that their ability to perform their normal day-to-day duties had been affected by ongoing coronavirus symptoms such as tiredness and shortness of breath.

“These findings again reinforce the importance of the Covid vaccination programme, including 12 to 15-year-olds, in helping to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in schools and colleges.”

It comes another study found that a third of people who develop long Covid suffer with symptoms such as a headache and depression.

Scientists compared the occurrence of symptoms after patients had been infected with Covid-19 – with those who had also caught the flu.

Long Covid is when people catch the coronavirus and instead of fully recovering, they suffer symptoms for weeks, potentially months, more.

According to the experts, long Covid is the same as “long flu” but more common.

Oxford University scientists said they found nothing new in the symptoms many suffer for months after catching coronavirus.

Long-lasting effects appear to be 50 per cent more common after Covid than after flu, they said – but even this could just be because scientists are looking harder.

Professor Paul Harrison, a psychiatrist at Oxford, said: “One of the challenges of thinking about long Covid is which of these symptoms are really directly related to Covid?

“As opposed to being more generalised effects that we can see after a range of health conditions.

“Our data don’t suggest there is anything unique about the long Covid symptoms.”

And Dr Max Taquet added: “It’s a possibility that there are long-term symptoms after the flu that we had overlooked simply because we didn’t have this focus before.”

The 9 most common long Covid symptoms

Over a third of Covid-19 patients are diagnosed with at least one long-Covid symptom.

Below are the nine most common symptoms and the percentage of people who suffer.

  • Anxiety/depression – 15%
  • Abnormal breathing – 8%
  • Abdominal symptoms – 8%
  • Other pain – 7%
  • Chest/throat pain – 6%
  • Fatigue – 6%
  • Headache – 5%
  • Cognitive problems (‘brain fog’) – 4%
  • Myalgia (muscle pain) – 1.5%
  • Any of the above features – 37%

Their study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, looked at medical records from 270,000 Covid survivors in the US.

It found that 36.6 per cent of people still had long Covid symptoms between three and six months after testing positive.

This compared to 29.7 per cent of people who had the same symptoms three months after catching the flu.

Most common were anxiety or depression, which affected 15 per cent of people, followed by breathing problems which affected eight per cent.

They also included chest pain, brain fog, tiredness, headaches and muscle pains.

Another study by the Office for National Statistics surveyed staff and pupils in English schools and found 36 per cent of adults and 12 per cent of children said they developed long Covid.

That report found weakness and tiredness were most common, affecting up to 60 per cent of sufferers, followed by shortness of breath.

Professor Masud Husain, who was involved in the Oxford study, added: “A GP or a doctor will be treating the symptoms in the same way they would if they occurred in another context, like flu, until we have a better understanding of the mechanism.”

It was previously reported that over a million Brits are suffering with long Covid and that cases are rising in children.

Experts also said that you can predict whether or not you will get long Covid from the symptoms you suffer when you contract Covid initially.

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