A FORMER sales representative has spoken out about living with long covid to show the lasting impact the virus has for certain sufferers.

Joanne Dawson became ill with coronavirus around April 18 this year and had no underlying health issues.

Previously she led a highly active lifestyle, regularly going for walks with her husband Andrew and would go for 10k runs at weekends.

Now she experiences waves of tiredness regularly, increased heart rate when climbing up stairs and suffers from a bronchial cough.

The 55-year-old had left her job as a sales representative with Nestle last year in order to go travelling with her husband.

Although unable to get a covid-19 test when she first contracted the virus, Joanne had a blood test four weeks later with doctors saying they are 99.9% certain she had coronavirus.

Joanne said: “I used to be very active, I was always going out for walks and runs.

“At first I didn’t have a cough, I just felt really weak and out of breath.

“One day I felt incredibly heavy and tired after a long walk.

“The next day I went for another walk and within 20 minutes sweat was pumping out of me, a different kind to when you exercise.

“A few evenings later I sat in bed covered in sweat and my body was throbbing, it was really bizarre.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt horrendous, I knew I’d got covid.

“We contacted 111 and they said to stay at home and take a paracetamol for the fever.

“I was rather relieved not to got to hospital as the thought of ventilation scared me.

“I continued to feel tired and heavy and could barely get out of bed, one week turned into two, two weeks into three and it went on.”

Many people who contract coronavirus only suffer with a mild illness for approximately two weeks.

After informing her GP she still had symptoms after several weeks, she was told that she was no longer infectious, but was now suffering with the long term effects of the virus.

She said:”Everytime I rang the doctors they told me to keep resting and I would feel better.

“I would suffer from pins and needles in my limbs, sweats and palpitations. Walking short distances felt like wading through treacle.

“I didn’t know what was happening and it didn’t get any better, I had no energy and even when I watched TV it felt like I wasn’t absorbing anything.

“Eventually I was referred to a neurologist in September and they conducted some tests and diagnosed me with post viral fatigue.

“It can take months to improve, all I can do is eat healthily and I’ve began taking lots of vitamin supplements.

“Now I’m able to go downstairs and make a cup of tea, but I still get relapses of fatigue. I feel incredibly frustrated and want to return to normal.

“People need to be aware that covid can leave a lasting impression. my horrific journey still isn’t over yet.”

The NHS announced on November 15 that 43 specialist clinics will be set up across England for those suffering with long covid.

Three are expected to be established in the North West.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Long Covid is already having a very serious impact on many people’s lives and could well go on to affect hundreds of thousands.

“That is why, while treating rising numbers of patients who are sick with the virus and many more who do not have it, the NHS is taking action to address those suffering ongoing health issues.”

Experts have identified four different syndromes associated with long covid.

These are post intensive care syndrome, post viral fatigue syndrome, permanent organ damage and long term Covid syndrome.