Question: What is the most reliable way to avoid Long Covid?

Answer: Don’t get Covid-19 in the first place.

In this article we will go through a few actions you can take to avoid a Covid-19 infection, and will also discuss some things you can do if you do become infected to reduce the risk of Long Covid developing.

Preventative measures

Research has shown that every infection carries a risk of leading to Long Covid. In our support group we have heard of people who were fine after their first infections but then developed Long Covid after their third or fourth infection. And while research studies may show that the majority of Long Covid sufferers are women in the middle age-range, focusing too much on that finding can encourage compacency for other groups, as there are still significant numbers of men and younger people suffering.

But how do you avoid Covid-19 when public health measures are allowing regular waves of the virus to go unchecked? It is particularly difficult for families, as research has shown that up to 70 % of adult Covid-19 cases originate from a child.

While it may seem difficult, there are a few things you can do:

  • Take up offers of Covid-19 vaccines/boosters. Research shows that vaccines do reduce the risk of Long Covid.
  • Meet outdoors where possible, as ventilation significantly reduces the spread of Covid-19.
  • If you have to meet indoors, make sure to open windows to create air flow.
  • Talk to your schools and workplaces about upgrading air conditioning to filtration systems.
  • Wear a well-fitted, high-grade mask such as an N95 or FFP3 when entering crowded indoor spaces including public transport.
  • Research has shown that k12 probiotics, which can be bought as lozenges to dissolve in the mouth, can be helpful in preventing Covid-19 infection.

If you have a sick child or family member the following steps can help reduce spread:

  • If possible keep the infected person in their room – they should only come out to use the bathroom. This may not be possible of course with young children.
  • Ventilate as much as possible, particularly rooms that the infected person has entered such as the bathroom.
  • Wear a well-fitted, high-grade mask such as an N95 when entering their room and have the patient wear a mask if entering shared areas of the house. Some parents have effectively avoided Covid-19 by wearing masks continuously while their child was sick.

Rest following infection

If you do get Covid-19 it is very important that you rest. Exercising too soon or too much has been shown to lead to Long Covid, as the body needs this time to rest and recover. Physiotherapy New Zealand has developed a valuable flowchart to help you assess whether you are ready for exercise and at what level. (Download and print options are available.)

With a few precautions it is possible to reduce your risk of infection and therefore Long Covid.

But if you do find that you have contracted Covid-19 then rest is your best friend.