A spike in quack cures and fad diets marketed online to treat long Covid is sparking fears from NHS bosses.
Ineffective treatments such as eating Hula Hopps and avoiding avocados and aubergines are being billed as miracle remedies for the condition, which has affected around one in 20 Covid sufferers in the UK according to one study.
Herbalists are even said to be running ‘long-Covid clinics’ which promise to ‘reduce the depth and duration’ of symptoms’, The Times reports.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, said: ‘The continued spread of misinformation around cures or quick fixes for long Covid is putting people at risk from ineffective, exploitative and even damaging treatments.
‘Spending thousands of pounds on a trip to a resort in the Alps will have little effect on anything other than your bank balance, and following fad diets and injecting antioxidants is unnecessary and potentially harmful if not administered correctly.’
The majority of these providers are taking advantage of social media to offer cures such as hyperbaric treatments, vitamin and antioxidant infusions.
Some spas have even started offering long Covid retreats costing consumers thousands of pounds, with remedies ranging from yoga to cryotherapy.
An Office for National Statistics report cites more than 830,000 people in the UK who have suffered symptoms for at least 12 weeks after contracting coronavirus — the definition of ‘post-Covid syndrome’
Although the NHS has set up a network of specialist long Covid clinics, some victims are turning to dubious online alternatives for a quick-fix solution.
Another risk factor is that long Covid symptoms could be a sign of a different disease, said Prof Powis.
He added: ‘Certain symptoms of stroke, lung cancer or other serious respiratory conditions are similar to reported signs of long Covid.
‘It’s essential that anyone experiencing ongoing symptoms after Covid-19 contact their GP, who can rule out any other possible underlying causes.’
WHO WAS MOST LIKELY TO HAVE LONG COVID FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR?
The ONS surveyed around 300,000 people across the UK to estimate how many Britons were suffering from long Covid.
It estimated that 0.63 per cent of the population had the condition for more than a year, but some groups were more likely to be affected.
50 to 69-year-olds: 1%
White people: 0.64%
People from the North East: 0.9%
Those from most deprived areas: 0.7%
Healthcare workers: 1.46%
Social care workers: 1.17%
Civil servants: 0.91%
Those with a severe disability: 1.81%Internet Explorer Channel Network