Awareness and care seeking for long COVID symptoms among Coronavirus disease survivors in Bahir Dar City, Northwest Ethiopia: phenomenological study

BMC Public Health. 2023 May 24;23(1):941. doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-15889-0.


Background: Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) has long-term sequels that persisted for months to years and manifested with a spectrum of signs and symptoms. Presentations of long COVID-19 symptoms are heterogeneous, vary from person to person, and can reach up to over 200 symptoms. Limited studies are conducted on the awareness of long COVID-19. So, this study aimed to explore the awareness about and care seeking for long COVID-19 symptoms among COVID survivors in Bahir Dar City in 2022.

Methods: A qualitative study with a phenomenological design was used. Participants of the study were individuals who survived five months or longer after they tested positive for COVID-19 in Bahir Dar city. Individuals were selected purposively. An in-depth interview guide was prepared and used to collect the data. Open Cod 4.03 software was used for coding and synthesizing. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the transcripts.

Results: The themes emerged from the data were awareness, experience of symptoms and their effects, and care practices of long COVID-19. Although only one participant mentioned the common symptoms of long COVID-19 the survivors experienced general, respiratory, cardiac, digestive, neurological, and other symptoms. These symptoms include rash, fatigue fever, cough, palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, and abdominal pain, loss of concentration, loss of smell, sleep disorder, depression, joint and muscle pain. These symptoms brought various physical and psychosocial effects. The majority of the respondents described that long COVID-19 symptoms will go off by themselves. To alleviate the problems some of the participants had taken different measures including medical care, homemade remedies, spiritual solutions, and lifestyle modification.

Conclusions: The result of this study revealed that participants have a significant deficit of awareness about the common symptoms, risk groups, and communicability of Long COVID. However, they experienced the majority of the common symptoms of Long COVID. To alleviate the problems, they had taken different measures including medical care, homemade remedies, spiritual solutions, and lifestyle modification.

Keywords: Awareness; Health Care Seeking Behavior; Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Cough
  • Ethiopia
  • Humans
  • Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome*