Still experiencing fatigue after a recent infection?
We are keen to support referrers, patients and other services by sharing useful links to information on post-Covid recovery and rehabilitation.
Post-viral fatigue is recognised to sometimes last for many months after the initial infection but, in the majority of cases, people make a full recovery. A diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME is only considered if there is evidence of Post-Exertional Malaise as well as multiple additional new symptoms alongside the fatigue such as cognitive symptoms, sleep changes and orthostatic problems and that the symptoms have persisted for over 4-6months in a way which is significantly affecting day to day life.
We therefore encourage good self-management in the meantime along with active review so referral can be considered if the symptoms persist and are interfering with daily activities 4-6 months after the initial infection.
We are keen that patients receive appropriate rehabilitation advice regarding recovery from infection. It is important that people aim to resume a normal routine regarding eating and sleeping and they undertake a balance of rest and carefully graded activity to prevent deconditioning when possible. It is also important that over exertion mentally or physically is avoided as this can perpetuate or escalate a fatigue condition so patients will often need to be supported during the time that they will have to reduce their daily activities. This may include prolonged periods off work or studies or adaptations being made to take account of the fatigue and the need for regular rest periods.
A helpful patient guide to managing Post-Viral Fatigue is available to download.
There is also additional advice on the BACME (The British Association for CFS/ME) and Royal College of Occupational Therapy websites regarding managing fatigue post infection whist researchers and clinicians start to understand more about the recovery trajectory of such patients with COVID related fatigue and other symptoms. Download
For patients who have been in hospital, including those who required ventilatory support, you may find the rehabilitation program developed by Lancashire Teaching Hospital a useful resource.