A mum told how she experienced “strange” lingering after-effects of Covid-19 weeks after she tested positive for the virus. Chiara Rinaldi, 38, said there are days when she feels “back to square one”.

Since March when infection rates reached record high levels due to the BA2 Omicron variant, people have suffered with longer and more unusual periods of coronavirus. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that one in 10 people who get the virus will go on to experience long Covid, where it takes weeks, months or even years to recover fully.

Mum-of-two Chiara told Wales Online that in the days before she tested positive for Covid she felt deeply fatigued and in a “state of otherworldliness” due to her brain fog. She said at times she was so exhausted that she wondered whether she’d make it home after the school drop-off.

She she initially blamed a migraine before going to her GP. She said: “It was hard to put into words how I was feeling – I had a weakness on one side of my body that would come and go, dizzy spells and brain fog that left me unable to remember that I started making a cup of tea.”

“I thought maybe it was a deficiency or perhaps anaemia, but the GP found a water infection. The next day I woke up with chest pains and ended up in hospital for tests but it was all clear and put down to costochondritis, when you get sharp pain from inflammation of the sternum – common after an infection.”

Despite taking a course of antibiotics, Chiara said nothing had improved, although her chest pain had gone. Then she finally tested positive for Covid and felt “vindicated”. “It was a massive relief to know why I felt terrible. I then developed the more common symptoms like a cough and a sore throat,” she added.



Chiara Rinaldi, pictured with her daughter
Chiara Rinaldi, pictured with her daughter

However this was not the end of her symptoms. A week later Chiara spent the night vomiting, and more than six weeks on she still has a mild cough and cannot shake the exhaustion. She said: “There are days when I feel like I’m getting better, then others when I feel back to square one with brain fog and exhaustion.

“I went to a children’s party and ended up asleep in bed for the afternoon. It feels worse just before lunchtime, I suspect when my body is craving food. At lunchtime meetings I find it really hard to get my words out and to concentrate on what’s been said.

“I have other friends, mostly female and in their 30s and 40s who are experiencing similar things. I hear lots that rest is the best cure.”

Journalist, broadcaster and author Carolyn Hitt said that when she was first struck down with Covid she had many of the telltale signs including flu-like symptoms, a sore throat and general achiness. However a fortnight later she began experiencing stranger symptoms including terrible earache.

She explained: “It’s like when you’ve been on a flight and your ears won’t pop. It’s that kind of feeling of having pressure in the head. I’ve had sore eyes as well, a bit like conjunctivitis. Everything from the neck up has felt inflamed – even my gums felt sore which was a strange one. My brother had it at the same time and he had very similar symptoms.”

She said her range of symptoms made her feel “washed out”. After posting a status on her personal Facebook page about her experiences, her friends said they had experienced similar issues.

One person stated: “I had it a few weeks ago, it was definitely mild but have been needing naps since then”. Another stated: “Yes, very tired. Also brain fog. Comes and goes. Seems to be getting better now.”

Carolyn added: “I felt rotten and I was quite worried in the aftermath that I felt so tired all the time. I was concerned about how long it would go on for. I was dragging myself around the day.”

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