“LONG colds” have existed for years and are just as common as long Covid, scientists say.
An estimated two million Brits believed they had long Covid with symptoms lasting a month or more in the latest figures in March.
Around one in five people suffered “long colds” in a study – equal to long Covid[/caption]
Tiredness, shortness of breath, aches and pains and trouble concentrating are the top complaints.
Experts at Queen Mary University of London now say the same thing happens after a common cold.
Data from more than 10,000 people found “long colds” are also common.
People complained of coughing, stomach pain and diarrhoea lasting for four weeks or more after illness.
Medics have long known it as post-viral fatigue and seen it after a range of viral infections.
Study author Giulia Vivaldi said: “As research into long Covid continues, we need to take the opportunity to investigate the lasting effects of other respiratory infections.
“These ‘long’ infections are so difficult to diagnose and treat primarily because of a lack of diagnostic tests and there being so many possible symptoms.
“There have been more than 200 investigated for long Covid alone.”
Professor Adrian Martineau added: “Research is important because it can help us to get to the root of why some people experience more prolonged symptoms than others.”
For the study, experts looked at data from 10,203 people in a coronavirus study.
At the time of the analysis 1,343 had been infected with Covid and 472 had had a lung infection that tested negative.
The results showed that 22 per cent of people with Covid-19 suffered prolonged symptoms after infection, as did 22 per cent of those who had an infection that was not Covid.
Prof Martineau said people were more likely to suffer taste and smell problems after Covid.
They also suffered heart palpitations, sweating and hair loss.
Meanwhile, those in the non-Covid group were more likely to have a cough or a hoarse voice.
Both groups suffered breathlessness and fatigue.
The study also suggested that the more serious a bout of illness, the greater the chance of having long-term symptoms.