Rachael Armstrong, 37, lives in Sunderland with her husband Rob and their three children Elliott, 14, Lydia, 12, and Callum, 3. Since April last year, she has been living with ‘Long Covid’.
After developing Covid symptoms her condition rapidly declined within days and she suffered from breathlessness, regular migraines, debilitating aches and pains as well as a lack of energy.
Nearly one year on, Rachael is still suffering from the symptoms of Long Covid which have resulted in a dramatic change in her day-to-day life. She isn’t alone. It is now understood that nearly 1 in 20 people who contract Covid are likely to suffer from Long Covid the persistent symptoms of which can last weeks or months, and often render people house-bound.
Having been personally affected by Long Covid Rachael shares her ongoing experience to raise awareness and urge people to be aware of the potential long-lasting effects of the virus and to help slow the spread.
“Before Covid, I enjoyed things such as hiking and going to the gym. Now I struggle to even walk to the park with my son. I’ve never had any illness that takes over my whole body as much as Covid. Like many other people I didn’t think I’d get Covid. I still can’t believe I’m living day-to-day with the symptoms for what might be the rest of my life.
The future for me is unclear. There’s still so much we don’t know about Long Covid but I know health professionals are continuing research on its effects to help people like me.
It’s the not knowing that makes it really hard to treat, and it’s terrifying to know I can catch this again and it could have a much more devastating impact. I am receiving medical help for my symptoms but I still feel like I have a long way to go before I get 'back to normal’ and feel like myself again.
I never could have imagined how debilitating Long Covid could be. It’s been extremely hard. Especially as a family. I’m lucky they are so supportive. I couldn’t keep going every day without them.
This virus isn’t mild for everyone. It can be life-changing and it can happen to you or someone you love. I urge everyone to take this virus seriously.
My plea to the North East is to please continue to stick to the rules. Wash your hands, wear a mask and keep your distance so that we can stand a chance of slowing the spread.”