Coronavirus: long-term effects of COVID-19

After contracting the coronavirus, some people often experience consequences of the disease for weeks or months. You can find various information on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on this website.

Explanation of term

We refer to the lasting effects of a coronavirus infection as the “long-term effects of COVID-19” in keeping with the language regime of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The lasting effects of a COVID-19 infection are frequently also referred to as “long COVID” on other platforms and in the media, for example. In such cases, the same thing is meant.

Long-term effects of COVID-19

The long-term effects of COVID-19 mainly include the following symptoms:

  • Over-tiredness and exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath and breathing problems
  • Loss of sense of smell and taste
  • Sleeplessness
  • Muscle fatigue/muscle pain
  • Chest pains
  • Intermittent fever
  • Skin rashes
  • Problems after physical exertion

The most frequent symptoms are fatigue, coughing and headache. How the symptoms occur and for how long varies widely. In most cases the symptoms disappear by themselves.

What to do if you have long-term effects of COVID-19

In most cases the symptoms disappear by themselves. If you’re worried about your symptoms or if they are interfering with your everyday life, contact your doctor to discuss what to do.

Support

The first person to talk to if you have any questions about long-term effects of COVID-19 is always your family doctor. They’re the person who knows most about your health and medical history. Below you will also find two websites with additional information on long-term effects of COVID-19.

There’s a section of the Swiss Lung League website geared to people with long-term effects of COVID-19. There you’ll find various links to recommendations, cantonal advice offices and sharing and support platforms.

To the Swiss Lung League website (in German, French and Italian)

The Altea network is dedicated to dialogue around long-term effects of COVID-19 among those affected and their families, medical professionals and researchers. On the Altea website you’ll find diverse information on long-term effects of COVID-19 (a definition, tips on dealing with the symptoms more effectively and support). The website also has a calendar of events.

To the Altea website (in German)

Costs of treatment

The costs of medically necessary treatment for long-term effects of COVID-19 will be covered by your health insurance.

What to do about loss of earnings

The arrangements for compensation for loss of earnings on the basis of long-term effects of COVID-19 depend on your employment contract and insurance situation. If you are unable to work for a protracted period you may have to register with the federal disability benefits authority.

Compensation for employees

If you’re employed your employer is obliged to continue paying you. The period for which you will continue to receive your pay depends on whether your employer has cover for daily sickness benefits. This will generally be the case.
Most daily benefits insurance plans entitle you to 80% of your pay for 720 days. If your employer doesn’t have cover for daily sickness benefits, the period for which you continue to receive your pay will depend on your years of service. In your first year of service you will receive full pay for three weeks; after that the period is extended depending on your years of service. The arrangements vary from canton to canton.

Compensation for self-employed people

If you’re self-employed the crucial question is whether you have taken out insurance for daily sickness benefits, and what this covers. You might also have loss of earnings (disability) insurance that will pay you an annuity once your daily benefit cover has run out.

In the case of protracted incapacity for work: registering with the federal disability benefits authority

If there are indications that you will not be fit for work again for a long time, it’s important to register with the federal disability benefits authority (IV/AS) in good time. Contact the IV/AS office in your canton of residence. This early registration requires that you have been unfit for work for at least 30 days without interruption or have had repeated shorter absences in the last 12 months.

Immediately after you contact the IV/AS office they will consider a formal application and measures enabling you to keep your job or be integrated into a new workplace. These phases of early intervention last a maximum of 12 months. After that a decision will be made on possible further measures (for example resilience and rehabilitation training, a work trial, job coaching or retraining).

A claim for an IV/AS pension will be examined if the IV/AS authority's integration efforts do not result in the desired success. You can draw an IV/AS pension at the earliest after one year of at least 40% incapacity for work, and six months after your IV/AS application. When examining entitlement to a pension the authority assesses on a case-by-case basis what specific complaints have led to the restriction in earning capacity. It is not yet clear how the various effects of long-term COVID-19 will be classified for insurance and benefits purposes.

You will find more information on the Verband Covid Langzeitfolgen website (in German).

Further information

Disease, symptoms, treatment

Information on Covid-19, the symptoms and the range of illness severity as well as the origin of the new coronavirus

Last modification 21.07.2021

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