Sheffield ME group offers support to 'Long Covid' sufferers who are experiencing similar debilitating symptoms

People in Sheffield living with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) are offering their support to ‘long Covid’ sufferers amid growing reports that many are experiencing the same debilitating symptoms.

Monday, 2nd November 2020, 4:45 pm

While most people who test positive for Covid-19 recover in a matter of weeks, it is becoming increasingly clear that some are still plagued by symptoms months after becoming infected.

The condition, known as ‘long Covid’, is having a debilitating effect on people’s lives and – while there is no medical definition or list of symptoms shared by all patients – features can include chronic fatigue, where people feel extremely tired and generally unwell; and post exertional malaise, where symptoms get worse following periods of physical or mental activity.

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A recent study of over 4,000 users of the COVID Symptom Study app suggested that one in 45 (2.2 per cent) would be ill for 12 weeks or more

Myalgic encephalomyelitis is a neurological condition which is characterised by the same symptoms described by some people suffering from long Covid.

Now, The Sheffield ME and Fibromyalgia Group has reached out to long Covid patients to offer their services and advice after noticing the similiarities between the two conditions.

Chair of the board of trustees, Carolyn Leary, said: “In these early stages of understanding the long term impacts of Covid 19, sharing support is really important. We don't know what the relationship is between ME and long Covid. However, within the ME community there is a deep understanding of what it's like to live with these symptoms and how to access the support you need, which is why we're reaching out to people with long Covid.”

The Sheffield ME and Fibromyalgia Group has over 250 members across South Yorkshire and provides welfare benefits and social care advocacy, as well as wellbeing and social activities.

Many of its members often struggle with daily tasks and work life and are therefore entitled to welfare benefits to support them including Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

Blake Alexander, 43, was diagnosed with ME in 2001 and feels sympathetic to those suffering from long Covid.

He said: “My ME is triggered by doing little things, just like walking or even talking and on some days I need help to be fed. I definitely have sympathy for those who have long Covid and I just hope that people can get treatment.”

For more information on the Sheffield ME and Fibromyalgia Group, email [email protected] or call 0114 2536700.

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