A SOUTHAMPTON mum has told how she has been fighting Covid-19 for more than three months.
Mother-of-two Stephanie Danby says her symptoms have got progressively worse since March 22.
The 46-year-old said: “It was just a persistent cough to begin with, it wasn’t that bad, it was just incredibly annoying.
“Slowly the pain built up in my lungs, it’s a burning pain like my lungs are painted with tar.
“And now I feel like I am being strangled, I can’t swallow and there’s a pressure on my neck.”
Mrs Danby said an antibody test on June 1 came back positive, but two subsequent tests gave negative readings.
She said that while her GP has been supportive they are unable to give advice because little is known about long-term symptoms.
“They don’t have the faintest idea of what to do,” she said.
“People are desperate for answers, you end up feeling like such a fraud.
“People don’t realise it can be chronic, it makes you think ‘Will I have this for the rest of my life?’”
She was speaking after an intensive care doctor who has been suffering from coronavirus symptoms from more than three months is called on the Government to launch a study on the effects of “long-term Covid”.
Jake Suett, 31, began suffering from chest pains and shortness of breath on March 20, but he is still experiencing them and has been unable to return to work.
Dr Suett, an ICU doctor in Norfolk, was tested for Covid-19 four weeks after falling ill and the results came back negative.
He told said he had been in contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients the week before he developed symptoms.
“What I’m struggling with at the moment is mainly cardiac-type chest pain and shortness of breath, which is fairly debilitating at times.
“It comes in waves but it never goes away completely; at one point I struggled to do normal activities like washing up.”
Dr Suett has joined more than 4,000 members of the Long Covid Support Group on Facebook, where other sufferers share their experiences of long-term symptoms.
He has written to former Green Party leader and member of the House of Lords Natalie Bennett, who raised the issue in Parliament on June 16.
Dr Suett is calling on the Government to launch a scientific study of patients experiencing prolonged symptoms, to find out how many people are affected and to investigate the causes.
He said there is a need for health professionals to be issued with information and guidance, and for the Government to consider the medical, psychological and financial support that may be required by these patients.
“The Government needs to recognise and consider the implications, the research and healthcare services that’s going to be needed to prevent this group getting bigger,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Lucy Bailey, 32, from Sutton in south London, who is still suffering after first experiencing coronavirus symptoms on April 27.
She was not admitted to hospital and a recent antibody test came back negative, but she said her GP has been reassuring her that it does not necessarily mean she did not contract Covid-19.
Miss Bailey is still suffering from joint and muscle pains, pins and needles, and “brain fog”, which is making it difficult for her to concentrate as begins a phased return to work.
The health charity worker told PA: “What Jake (Suett) is calling for is really important. This is an unknown virus and we don’t know what the long-term effects are.
“I have been left feeling quite angry because I am not included in the Government’s statistics of rate of infections.
“If there isn’t comprehensive guidance for people with symptoms, we will still not be picked up or get any help.
“I worry the longer we leave it, the more damaging the long-term effects could be.”
Research from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) suggests that tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients who were taken to hospital may need ongoing rehabilitation for symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue.
The CSP said that, of 48,448 survivors who were taken to hospital in the UK with Covid-19 up until May 21, 29,845 are likely to require some level of rehabilitation on discharge.
Meanwhile, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation found in an ongoing survey, which has so far been completed by almost 1,000 people recovering from Covid-19, that 90% named breathing problems as their top symptom, along with 64% who said they suffer from extreme tiredness.