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EU: Agency release COVID and long COVID guides

The EU's European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has released two new guides to explain the challenges that returning workers face after suffering COVID-19, whether affected by acute illness or longer term symptoms, also known as long COVID. They provide simple solutions for both managers and workers on how to manage getting back to work.

"There is still much to learn about the impact of COVID-19, but research studies reveal that: one in five people has symptoms after four weeks, and one in 10 has symptoms for 12 weeks or longer," EU-OSHA says. Common symptoms include extreme fatigue, breathlessness, chest pain, muscle and joint pain and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Some patients experience difficulty thinking and finding the right words, loss of sense of smell, skin rashes and loss of appetite.

Long COVID can involve unusual patterns like relapses with new and sometimes unusual symptoms. "An initially mild or even asymptomatic case can be followed by severe symptoms markedly affecting day-to-day activities," EU-OSHA says.

Tailored to either workers or managers, each guide offers easy-to-follow advice on keeping in touch during sickness leave, the back-to-work interview, measures such as temporary adjustments to working hours or duties, and where to get help.

By working together, workers can get back on their feet and managers can get valued team members back into the workplace. The guides are available in a number of different languages and can be downloaded as pdf documents from these pages:

Find more COVID-19 resources for the workplace

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