Long Covid sufferers warn young people you're not 'invincible' to debilitating illness

YOUNG people who think they are “invincible” when it comes to Covid-19 have been urged to take the virus seriously by those suffering from long Covid.

Long Covid is a condition that includes symptoms such as brain fog, diarrhoea and painful palpitations.

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People who have overcome the virus have been left with these symptoms for months after overcoming the initial illness.

A study published last month revealed that one in five people testing positive for the virus have been left with debilitating conditions.

A fifth still report issues after five weeks and one in ten after 12 weeks – more than twice previous estimates.

Experts have now warned that there needs to be “better recognition” by employers for their employees who are suffering with long Covid.

Speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus, Dr Nathalie MacDermott said neurologists believe Covid has damaged her spinal cord and she can only walk about 200 metres without some form of assistance.

The 38-year-old said the damage has affected her bladder and bowel too, causing urinary tract infections, and she gets pain in her arms and has weakness in her grip.

What is long Covid?

HUNDREDS of thousands of people recovering from the coronavirus have been struck down with debilitating symptoms.

Those suffering have dubbed the condition "long-Covid", with many reporting symptoms of chronic fatigue and cognitive problems.

The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) of MPs on the coronavirus previously claimed there were 16 symptoms that people with long-Covid suffer with.

These are:

  • Hair loss
  • High temperature
  • Diarrhoea
  • Exhaustion
  • Chest pain
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Covid toes
  • Chills
  • Disorientation
  • Cognitive problems
  • Breathing issues
  • Muscle or body aches
  • A heart rate of more than 100 beats a minute (Tachycardia)
  • Vomiting
  • Issues with your heart rate or its rhythm (Arrhythmia)

She said employers need to understand that long Covid is a "genuine condition" and that people may need to be off work for a significant period of time.

She added: "And I think we need better recognition in the public, particularly the younger public who think that they're invincible.

"I'm 38 and I wonder if I'll ever be able to walk properly without crutches again. Will this continue to get worse? Will I end up in a wheelchair?"

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told MPs Britain probably has more than 300,000 cases of long Covid.

He said it is a case of "Russian roulette" because people do not know whether they are going to be one of the people who is better in two weeks or one of the people who is going to be on crutches or in a wheelchair "for months or years or forever".

Dr MacDermott has been able to work from home in her academic role but is unsure how she will safely be able to return to her clinical duties.

I'm 38 and I wonder if I'll ever be able to walk properly without crutches again. Will this continue to get worse? Will I end up in a wheelchair?

She said: "There will need to be quite significant modifications in place for me to be able to be on the wards,"

Other medical professionals have also revealed how their lives have changed due to long Covid.

Dr Linn Jarte, a 33-year-old anaesthetist, said even just taking a couple of steps would make her feel "absolutely horrendous" at the start of her experience with long Covid.

She said she felt as though her whole body was filled with lead and that at the same time, she had a painful burning sensation.

Dr Jarte said her heart rate was through the roof and said she experienced painful pins and needles.

Another symptom many long Covid sufferers face is brain fog.

Dr Jarte described this as a “thick cloud that fills the brain”.

She added: "I just stopped being able to think."

"I spent a lot of time during those first few months when I was the sickest just sort of staring into thin air," she said.

Before contracting Covid-19 Dr Jarte said she was fit and active.

Dr Jarte has been unable to work at all since her symptoms began as she is unable to deal with the brain fog.

Another medical professional, specialising in HIV and homecare said he was left in tears after medics were unable to come to a conclusion as to what was wrong with him.

Gerraint Jones, 30, suffered with chronic diarrhoea and abdominal pain for seven or eight hours per day at one point – a symptom which went on for 14 or 15 weeks.

He says this is an ongoing issue for him and added that other symptoms have also plagued him.

Mr Jones said he has also been left with brain fog where he is unable to recall the most basic of words or phrases, as well as tinnitus and painful palpitations.

Mr Jones said he worked from home from July to September but since then has been off work as experts determine the cause of his multiple symptoms.

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