AS one Bolton woman believes she has had coronavirus twice and reports emerge of others suffering symptoms months after fighting the illness, we investigate the long-term impact of COVID-19.

“I feel like I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.”

Those are the words of Lisa More, who lives in Farnworth and believes she had a couple of bouts of coronavirus in a few months and still feels tired eight weeks after her symptoms faded.

She is speaking about her experience at a time when the Government has just started a study on the long-term physical and mental health implications of COVID-19.

Lisa, 31, who has medication for panic attacks and anxiety but is otherwise healthy, did not have to stay over in hospital but she spent weeks recovering at home.

She made notes in a diary as her symptoms developed and has shared her experience with Facebook recovery support groups during the pandemic to help others.

The Bolton News:

Lisa More

Lisa started feeling unwell on March 7 when she described herself as getting a normal cold.

However, Lisa was unable to shrug off the illness and felt unwell for another two weeks.

She woke up with a very sore throat on March 21 and her health worsened.

Lisa had a high temperature, was unable to sleep or eat, had chest pains, other aches and vomiting. Her condition reached its worst on March 27.

She said: “I was delirious for three hours, really breathless and I had lost my sense of smell and taste.

“I fainted and my partner Sheldon called 101 and he took me to A&E at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

“I was told I was fit and healthy so I would be able to recover at home.”

The Bolton News:

Lisa and her partner Sheldon Jolly

Lisa’s health improved on April 7 but just over two weeks later on April 21 she started getting symptoms again, and she felt ill for another 19 days.

Lisa had a coronavirus test in June which returned negative, but she said she was no longer displaying symptoms when she took it.

Recalling the height of her illness, Lisa said: “I learnt to really appreciate breathing.

“I would not wish this on my worst enemy – it was an awful, isolating experience."

Lisa, who hopes to have an antibody test to check if she has has COVID-19, still feels tired months after being really ill and urges people to continue being careful to help avoid them catching the virus.

Helen Ducker, from Edgworth, has had a long-running battle with her health this year.

The mum-of-two went to the Royal Bolton Hospital twice after showing coronavirus symptoms.

The popular baker, who runs Mother Ducker cake shop in The Last Drop Village, was first taken to hospital by ambulance on March 27, spending a week there.

And three weeks after she was discharged, she was transported back to hospital by ambulance.

The Bolton News:

Helen Ducker

At the time Helen said: "This virus is nasty for some of us – it ravages our body, and as we still don’t know enough about it, we don’t know what the recovery timescale is or what long term damage it has done."

With many other reports of people suffering from coronavirus more than once, the Government has launched a study on the long-term physical and mental health effects. Around 10,000 patients are expected to take part.

It will look at ways to help improve the mental health of patients hospitalised with coronavirus, and how individual characteristics influence recovery, such as gender or ethnicity.

Patients from across the UK will be assessed using techniques such as advanced imaging, data collection and analysis of blood and lung samples, creating a comprehensive picture of the impact COVID-19 has on longer-term health outcomes.

For patients who were hospitalised and have since been discharged, it is not yet clear what their medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be to enable them to make as full a recovery as possible.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) chief executive, Professor Ottoline Leyser, said: "We have much to learn about the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 and its management in hospital, including the effects of debilitating lung and heart conditions, fatigue, trauma and the mental health and wellbeing of patients.

“UKRI is collaborating with the National Institute for Health Research to fund one of the world’s largest studies to track the long-term effects of the virus after hospital treatment, recognising that for many people survival may be just the start of a long road to recovery.

“This study will support the development of better care and rehabilitation and, we hope, improve the lives of survivors.”

The findings from the study will support the development of new strategies for clinical and rehabilitation care, including treatments based on the particular disease characteristics that a patient shows, to improve their long-term health.

The study follows the announcement of an on-demand recovery service to be launched for tens of thousands of people suffering from the long-term effects of coronavirus.