“I never thought I would become as ill as I did” warns Long Covid sufferer

Date published: 16 February 2021

An estimated 1 in every 20 people diagnosed with Covid-19 experience the often ‘debilitating’ effects of long-term symptoms experienced after contracting Covid-19 – commonly known as ‘Long Covid’.

Someone is said to have Long Covid (or Post-Covid Syndrome), when symptoms continue for more than 12 weeks after a Covid-19 infection and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.

Sufferers commonly experience generalised pain, fatigue, persisting high temperature and mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety or depression - but many other symptoms have also been reported.

Mark Griffiths, 47, from Liverpool first contracted Covid-19 in March but soon realised something wasn’t right: “Initially I just thought I had a cold, then maybe flu but as my symptoms got worse, I had a test and found out I had Covid-19.

“I didn’t develop a cough until around six weeks later – and at this point I knew something was wrong.

“I then developed a whole range of symptoms such as fatigue, constant headaches, concentration and short-term memory problems, joint and muscle pain and breathing difficulties.

“As time went on, I became very frustrated. I was wondering, how long I would feel like this? How long will it take until I can live normally again and go back to work?

“After a while, I started to improve slowly - week by week – before returning to work full-time in September. However, my heart still races, and I still live with ongoing fatigue and headaches.

“People need to be aware that Covid-19 poses a greater risk to your health than you may think. I was a fit and strong individual and now I have symptoms I may have to live with for a long time to come. I certainly never thought I would become as ill as I did.

“Simply being cautious and following the advice can save people going through what I went through and potentially save lives.”


The positive case rate has increased by 50% in the 7 days following Christmas Day


Dr Andrew Furber, Regional Director for Public Health England and NHS Public Health in the North West, said: “Long Covid can cause debilitating illness and a range of symptoms which may affect people’s ability to work, go to school, or even exercise.

“People often assume that if you’re young, fit and healthy Covid-19 will be a short-lived, minor illness for a couple of weeks and then you’ll be back to normal. This isn’t always the case and may develop into something more long-term and severely impact your quality of life.

“That’s why it’s still so important to follow Covid-19 advice closely. It’s not worth the risk.”

To help Covid-19 sufferers with their recovery, NHS England launched the ‘Your Covid Recovery’ website back in July.

Dr Furber added: “We advise anyone suffering with the long-term effects of this disease to contact NHS 111 online or by phone in the first instance.

“The ‘Your Covid Recovery’ website is also a useful source of information, advice and support as you recover from Covid-19 – whether you’re experiencing physical or mental symptoms.”

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