How to Manage Long COVID as an Expat

 Feb 27, 2024 | 3 Min Read

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Getting sick while living abroad as an expat can be challenging. Being away from the support of friends and family, unable to access familiar services, and dealing with language barriers can all contribute to a stressful situation for expats. What’s more, if they are dealing with a chronic condition, like long COVID, it can be even harder to feel secure. Here is some crucial information to know if you’re an expat wondering how to manage long COVID.

Long COVID symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, but some common ones include: 

  • Extreme tiredness/ fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory problems (referred to as ‘brain fog’) 
  • Changes in taste or a loss of appetite 
  • Persistent coughing with phlegm 
  • Difficulty swallowing or changes in voice 
  • Trouble sleeping/ insomnia 
  • Anxiety and/or depression 
  • Dizziness or vertigo

Symptoms of long COVID can often be exacerbated by the patient not being in their home environment. For example, living in a hotter, more humid climate can be more challenging for someone struggling with shortness of breath. Dealing with a language barrier can be difficult for those suffering with brain fog. Adjusting to new time zone or working with international teams can disrupt sleep patterns. 

As an expat, it’s important to recognise where you may need additional supports – whether that’s from your employer, healthcare provider, or community. Dealing with long COVID is a daily challenge and can often contribute to expat burnout – it's important to put your health first. 

For anyone suffering with long COVID, keeping a balanced routine is especially important. Your routine should involve space and time for:

  • A balanced diet
  • Plenty of water
  • Exercise (as much as you can, depending on your symptoms)
  • Quality sleep
  • Self-care activities such as hobbies, meditation and personal care
  • Avoiding and managing stress levels

Maintaining a support system is especially important for expats with long COVID. They should maintain regular contact with their family and friends in their home country, as well as reaching out to new friends and connections. 

This can be difficult, especially for those suffering with fatigue, but the support from a community of like-minded people can be invaluable to feeling better and more hopeful for the future. 

For expats wondering how to manage long COVID, the first step is having adequate healthcare while abroad. Here are some features that you should look for in a policy to get the support you need:

  • Support for mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Access to global telehealth services, like Allianz Partners’ MyHealth, where you can digitally access a medical team 24/7
  • Second medical opinion services for clarity on diagnosis or treatments
  • A strong reputation and presence in the market – for example, Allianz Partners has been voted a number 1 insurance brand by Interbrand for five years running.


If you require assistance, expats who have international health insurance with Allianz Partners will have access to our Expat Assistance Programme that offers 24/7 confidential professional counselling - available face-to-face or via phone, video, email and online chat.