A group of long covid sufferers say help is available for anyone currently recovering from the virus.
ME sufferers and long covid sufferers have recently been collaborating to raise awareness and improve healthcare for the conditions, which share many traits.
Of the current outbreak on the island, it is possible that up to 100 people will suffer from long covid, with potentially up to 20 of those suffering the worst effects that could leave them still unable to work after 6 months. Back in October Chief Minister Howard Quayle confirmed that after he was ill with Covid, he was still experiencing the loss of most of his sense of taste and smell.
The concern over long covid on the island has led to the creation of the private Facebook group Covid Recovery Isle of Man, it currently has about 100 members and can be found here.
A spokesperson for the group said that their key message is to be patient and build up gradually to your normal level of activities and to plan to do this over a number of weeks rather than days as the consequences of rushing a recovery can be devastating.
Facts and Figures
The British Medical Association says that of everyone who tests positive for Covid:
- 1 in 10 exhibit symptoms for 12 weeks or longer
- 1 in 5 exhibit symptoms for 5 weeks or longer
Meanwhile patient led research says that 22% of people living with long covid are unable to work after six months while 65% of long covid sufferers were still showing symptoms six months after testing positive for the virus.
The local support group has also shared a recent BBC interview with Dr David Strain, the BMA’s lead on the NHS Long Covid Taskforce.
During the interview Dr Strain explained that long covid generally falls into two categories:
“There’s long covid that can be attributed to a really bad case of covid in the first instance… but then the surprising group that has come out of this is a group of individuals that didn’t get particularly bad covid but who 2-3 months later are still left with this chronic debilitating fatigue.”
“If anything we’re seeing it more common in the younger patients, the fitter, the very active, the ones who may have got over the initial disease very quickly, but are left with long debilitating symptoms.”
Dr Strain, further explained that studies have shown that commonly “people who have got long covid are people who caught it in the first instance and tried to work through it. They tried to say, ‘it’s only a mild disease, I’ll shrug it off and I’ll get on’ and the result is they’ve been left with much more lasting consequences.” His advice is “take it easy, go easy on yourself for two, maybe three or four weeks”.
You can watch the full interview below.
The spokesperson for Covid Recovery Isle of Man said: ‘Given the number of young people who have recently tested positive, this is really relevant advice for Isle of Man residents.
Gemma’s Covid Battle
As part of helping to raise awareness of the impact long covid can have, Gemma Wild has shared her experience of the illness.
“I’m a 55 yr old previously fit (gym, running, golf, Pilates) woman. My Covid symptoms started on 21 March 2020 and lasted for about 3 weeks. The fatigue and headaches stayed longer but I felt able to go back to exercising although limited and started working again, delivering Fynitiser to help out Fynoderee. I tried my best to keep going, despite being held back by a lack of energy.
“After a game of golf on 10th July I went to A&E because I thought I was having a heart attack. I had severe chest pain, shortness of breath, and the headache was horrendous. All the tests (blood, heart ecg, neurological) came back normal. I felt like a complete hypochondriac and left without any diagnosis.
“With hindsight, it is clear that this was all connected and in the months after the coronavirus cleared my system, I exacerbated my post-viral fatigue by pressing on. I tried to do too much too soon. The last 12 months have been extremely difficult, long covid has left me with completely debilitating fatigue. I’m unable to work or keep fit and even day to day tasks around the house are very challenging.
“The anniversary of when I first contracted covid has just passed, various symptoms come and go; chest pain, racing heart, brain fog, sob, dizziness, aching joints, headache, low noise tolerance, fluctuating body temp, dry eyes, and insomnia. I have constant fatigue, pins and needles in hands and feet and tinnitus. My taste and smell finally returned in November. I hope to return to full health, although I accept that there is still a long road ahead of me.
“I’ve learned a lot through this experience, particularly how amazing my family and friends are! I really hope that anyone who is currently recovering from covid can make good, early decisions to recover slowly and carefully.”