This is what it is like to have ‘long-Covid’
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A new study published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP Open) focused on people with persistent and long-lasting symptoms following a Covid-19 infection.
They were then interviewed by researchers and asked to share their experiences.
The wife of one 67-year-old man, who had coronavirus in March, told the study team that her husband was sleeping “20 hours-a-day” at one point in his recovery.
She said: “He’s still sleeping now, five-and-a-half months after, he sleeps an awful lot. Sat up, not lay down, sat up he’s just totally exhausted.”
Another 50-year-old woman, also believed to have had the disease in March, said she initially thought she had recovered after about 15 days, until the fatigue hit.
She said: “It was just like I’d been run over. You know I felt, gravity felt like it was applying extra on my limbs.
“And I couldn’t seem to manage to do anything, I stopped walking completely.”
She said on some days she had been left “bed ridden” by fatigue.
Meanwhile, a 34-year-old woman told researchers that even simple tasks like peeling vegetables required a break.
She said: “I have to do a chore, sit down for 15, 20 minutes and then do the next, which frustrates me, it’s like peeling potatoes, I can’t peel the carrots straight afterwards.”
Other participants spoke about not feeling entitled to health care, and the difficulty in finding a GP who believed their symptoms were real.
They also raised concerns about never recovering from the disease.
“I feel like there’s a lack of knowledge. And I really wasn’t able to get any answers,” one 50-year-old woman told researchers.
“I know, you know this is obviously a novel illness. But just even for one doctor to look into it a bit and come back to me, didn’t happen.”
Another 42-year-old woman, believed to have had coronavirus in March, said she was “terrified” she might die on a “couple of occasions”.
She added: “Maybe not I’m going to die right now’, but definitely ‘I’m never going to get better from this’ kind of feeling.”
The paper, published in the BJGP, featured analysis of 24 interviews.
None of those who took part in the interviews had been admitted to hospital during their initial suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.
Half of the participants in the study had not been tested for Covid-19, and of those that were, only one had a positive result.
Researchers said the availability of tests were limited at the time participants had acute infection.
The study, which was led by Keele University, found that further research was needed to “better understand recovery trajectories” and to inform and improve the care of patients.