Severe fatigue, breathlessness, forgetting certain words and brain fog, are just some of the symptoms people have been left with months after they first contracted coronavirus.
Since the start of March, coronavirus has had a devastating impact on families across the UK, with many losing loved ones and others left critically ill.
But as the battle to control the virus continues, many of those who had coronavirus symptoms over 100 days ago say they’re still suffering today.
With relatively little known about the long term impact of coronavirus, these sufferers known as “long haulers”, have been left worried for their health and searching for answers.
In a bid to support each other and share experiences, a number of different Facebook groups have been set up with thousands of people joining them.
To find out more about the long term effects of coronavirus, we spoke to people of varying ages and with no underlying health conditions from Merseyside, about what they have been going through.
“I couldn’t even close my eyes, my body would forget to breathe”
Louise Nicholls, from Litherland, was told she had coronavirus by her doctor on April 1, after she began suffering from a number of respiratory symptoms.
Before she fell ill, the 32-year-old, who has no underlying health conditions, said she was in “really good health”, lifting weights three times a week and going horse riding, in preparation for her wedding.
Louise said: “I was trying to do my workouts and I was getting really short of breath.
“I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on but it got worse every day. My chest started getting tighter and my lungs were burning.
“I didn’t have a cough or a fever but I had shortness of breath and I was waking up with night sweats.”
Louise said her symptoms were dismissed as anxiety by those around her at first but when her symptoms got worse she phoned the doctor who said it sounded like coronavirus.
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Louise said: “My doctor said it sounds like covid. She said ‘you’re young and fit, you’ll be over it in a few weeks’ and sent me on my way.”
Louise’s breathing continued to get worse and she was given a steroid inhaler which she is still taking today.
She said: “I was given a steroid inhaler to widen my airways. I don’t have asthma but I have had some asthmatic tendencies in the past.
“I couldn’t even close my eyes to go to sleep because my body would forget to breathe because it was that hard.
“I would stay up until 4am not being able to breathe. That’s when I rang 111 and they gave me some steroid tablets to bring down the inflammation.
Louise said: “It’s really lonely and isolating, there’s been no support.”
Although Louise feels much better than she did at one time, she is still struggling with her breathing today and is continuing to use her inhaler.
She said: “I feel much better than I was but I can’t push myself too much. I can only walk around the block. I used to do kickboxing and horse riding but I can’t do that now.
“My chest feels tight if I don’t take my inhaler every day.”
Louise has recently set up a Facebook group for people in Merseyside who are still suffering from the effects of the virus months later.
The 32-year-old said one thing that has been clear is that the virus “doesn’t discriminate” based on age or health, and reported symptoms have been different from one person to the next.
She said: “They’re self help groups where we try to help each other. We want to keep them calm and positive and not cause any scaremongering.”
“I’m unable to get out of bed for more than three hours at a time at a stretch”
For Professor Paul Garner, it’s been over 100 days since he first had symptoms of coronavirus and he’s still suffering today.
Paul, 67, who works as an epidemiologist at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said he was fit and healthy before he contracted the virus, doing yoga and running between 30 and 40km a week.
But now, even a 15 minute bike ride can leave Paul bed bound for 24 hours.
Paul told the ECHO: “It’s a mind boggling condition, it really is.
“You’ve got people coming out of this infection and everyone is a bit different.
“The main problem for me has been this horrible fatigue, it’s much like chronic fatigue syndrome but it’s not getting to that yet.
“I am unable to be out of bed for more than three hours at a stretch. My arms and legs are permanently fizzing as if injected with Szechuan peppercorns, I have ringing in the ears, intermittent brain fog, palpitations, and dramatic mood swings.
“I was running 30/40km a week before and doing yoga. Now I can only walk around 4km and if I do 20/30 minutes of yoga a coupe of days in a row then my symptoms come back.
“I get aches and pains in my muscles and pins and needles in my arms and legs.
“On Thursday it was my sister’s birthday and I cycled to Princes Park. It was about 15 minutes cycling in total and the next day I felt really unwell. I was in bed for 24 hours.
“This disease really gives your body a pummelling and bashes you around inside.”
“People are forgetting how to say certain words”
If he pushes himself too hard, Paul said some of his symptoms return and he ends up having to spend the following day recovering in bed.
He said: “I’ve had to reduce the amount of time I spend on the computer to around an hour and a half in the morning and then I go back to bed for a sleep. Then I get back up and do a bit more and then go back to bed for another sleep.”
Another symptom which Paul and other long haulers have been left suffering from is forgetfulness and the ability to say certain words.
He added: “I went out shopping the other day and came home with some cans of baked beans. I couldn’t find where I had put them and then I found them in the fridge.
“People are also forgetting how to say certain words. I couldn’t say exclude.
“One woman on Facebook said she asked her partner to get those white things we eat off out of the cupboard. She couldn’t remember the word plates.
“People are saying it’s been 90 days and they are still getting headaches or having breathing difficulties but because these symptoms are so weird they’re being dismissed by doctors as having anxiety.
“So then the people who are feeling these things don’t know what to think and start to think maybe it is a mental problem or they are making it up. It’s so important that these people have sympathy and that people believe them.”
“There’s very little advice or support”
Chris, 37, a firefighter from Kirkby and his wife Ingrid, 34, have both been left suffering from some symptoms of the virus over three months later.
For Chris, the symptom he has been left with is mainly shortness of breath, which means he is still unable to do certain things.
His wife Ingrid is suffering from severe fatigue, meaning she has to spend half of the day resting in bed, with day to day tasks leaving her feeling exhausted.
Chris said: “I was off work on annual leave and I went back for the first time and before I even finished my shift my wife called me in floods of tears. She said ‘I can’t cope, I can’t do this.’ So I spoke to my manager and they said yes just go.
“It set her back almost a week. It seems the biggest thing people can do is get some rest straight away and don’t try to work through it.
“She’s had very little advice or support. She’s been on the phone to a specialist today for £40 an hour to get some advice.
“She’s very worried. She just wants to be able to do things with the children . People seem to think that you should just get out and go for a walk and that everyone feels tired but it’s so much worse than that.
“We’re just hoping for the best and that this doesn’t become chronic.”