Are We Giving the Wrong Advice To People with Long COVID?


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Jun 29, 2011
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Are We Giving the Wrong AdviceTo People with Long COVID?​

Sasha Baker
5 July 2022
According to Asad Khan, a pulmonary consultant living with Long COVID himself, “post-exertional malaise is now very well documented in Long COVID… and we have to learn from the history of other post-viral illnesses”.

GET is not mentioned in the Long COVID treatment guidance, which is limited, reflecting how new the condition is, but a spokesperson for NICE said that it “does not recommend either [cognitive behavioural therapy] or GET in the management of post-COVID-19 syndrome”, which is another name for Long COVID.

And yet, the idea that exercise is always beneficial remains prevalent in medical circles. Dr Clare Gerada, President of the Royal College of GPs, told BBC Breakfast in January 2021 that “There is nothing that isn’t made better through exercise… No matter what age, what condition, exercise will always improve it, but within moderation.”

Dr Khan disagrees. He believes that public health messaging about Long COVID should be promoting rest, rather than encouraging exercise. “If you overexert yourself then you’re going to induce PEM,” he told Byline Times, adding, “The more you keep exerting yourself and having PEM it will lower your baseline.”