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Articles > Coronavirus August, 23, 2021

The reality of living with Long Covid

Emma Anderson
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So fit and healthy young people are not physically affected by Covid-19. Right? There seems a common belief that we will not be ill for longer than ten days if we contract Covid-19. However, as I discovered, this is not the case. Here is my story.

I use lateral flow tests twice a week and have never tested positive for Covid-19…

However, three months ago I was to find that my daily life would drastically change for the foreseeable future. I was to join the millions of others experiencing the daily challenges of living life with Long Covid.

When I noticed changes in my sense of taste and smell, I immediately booked a PCR test. However, after a negative result, I was left wondering what illness I had. Since then, my symptoms have increased in number. I’ve visited four doctors who all suggested I have Long Covid. It is now a waiting game as no treatment has yet been found. My nerve endings may have been damaged which could take two years to repair.

I used to love trying new meals but now many foods taste rotten to me meaning I cannot eat them. Due to my altered sense of smell, I am also unable to eat anything hot. My Mum has to cook for me as I struggle to be in the kitchen when there are cooking smells.

Although the main focus around Long Covid altered senses has been food, I am also unable to wear perfume, most toothpaste tastes disgusting and scented toiletries are to be avoided. Even passing a fast-food shop on the street is unpleasant.

It is impossible to avoid all sense of smell so, I have been trialling ways to manage this such as ‘scent pots’ which I smell twice a day. For me, this has had limited success but I am persisting for the moment. Other issues this has given me are unexplained chest pains, shocks at nerve endings, aching muscles and joints, and fatigue.

My symptoms started during school time and I was concerned this would impact my exams. I am very thankful to have secured my University place before I became ill, as relying on exam results could have been very stressful.

Eat little. Sleep less. No break. Repeat.

There were still many challenges such as having joint aches from sitting too long or struggling to concentrate, which is more symptoms. To ease these issues, I was given extra support during exams. At the time I found this hard to accept as I was determined my illness would not impact my life but, I have now found I will have to work with it instead of fighting against it.

I am determined to live my life in as normal as possible

Recently, I have been researching and creating ways to better manage my Long Covid and have been sharing findings through my blog and Instagram page with the aim of helping others with similar symptoms. I’m also hoping I can use my experience to raise greater awareness of this growing issue.

I am particularly concerned about the new (lack of) restrictions. In particular the decreased use of facemasks as this could increase Covid-19 cases. I did not realise the full extent of this illness until I was affected.

Every aspect of my life has been affected and my Long Covid is not even as severe as many others. I am determined to share my story so others can learn from what has happened to me and the many others who are unable to share their stories due to severe fatigue or other symptoms.

Currently, there is not much awareness of the impact of Long Covid on young people and I believe this should be taken into greater consideration when decisions are made regarding restrictions in schools.

I have listed only a few examples of my recent experience. If you have Long Covid, I hope you know you are not alone. This illness may seem frustrating but there are some ways of better managing this illness. Everyone’s situation is different but despite the challenges, we can overcome this. 

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