A Midlothian teacher has revealed she struggles to dress in the morning as she battles the symptoms of Long Covid, with more than 200,000 Scots suffering with the condition.
Symptoms can include severe brain fog, breathlessness, tiredness, and muscle and chest pain, with the condition still not widely understood.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that 204,000 Scots – a number higher than the population of Aberdeen – are currently living with the condition.
Of those more than 75,000 have been suffering the after-effects of Covid for more than 12 months.
Teacher Chloe Folta, 26, from Penicuik said: “I got Covid in late December last year and have never really got better. Twice I went back to work too early and made myself worse. If I’m honest, I’m still not great.
“I was back and forward to my GP because new symptoms kept cropping up. The GP was sympathetic but didn’t really know what to do – I understand that because Covid and Long Covid is still all so new.
“I still suffer from fatigue and muscle and chest pain. Brain fog has been a real issue, too. I was very active before, and it’s been hard to adjust and scale back to doing almost nothing.
“I’m on a phased return to work, going in for full days on Mondays and Tuesdays. But that wipes me out for the rest of the week. The smallest things tire me out, like getting dressed or making breakfast.”
She received help from Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, who are calling on the Scottish Government to provide better training in Long Covid for health professionals, improving capacity across Health Boards to provide quicker and more coordinated diagnostic and treatment pathways, and better integrating their own support services with NHS Scotland.
Allan Cowie, interim chief executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “Despite most people believing Covid is over, the number of people living with Long Covid has more than doubled in the last year, which is a major public health concern for Scotland.
“The Scottish Government has promised to help people with Long Covid but many are still struggling to get a diagnosis, to get back to work and enjoy everyday activities like going for a walk or spending time with their families.
“People who are seeing very little improvement in their health 12 months after getting Covid are scared and need help. There needs to be more urgency on this. Things just aren’t joined up at all.
“We need to see more innovation and joined up thinking like the work NHS Lothian are doing to better connect people with the support they need and this approach needs to be replicated across the country. We need to see more capacity and training to make sure people get quick access to tests and any beneficial treatments.
“People have been living with Long Covid for years now and little progress has been made to build services around their needs. People deserve action.”
People with Long Covid can get advice and support through CHSS’s Long Covid Advice Line by calling directly on 0808 801 0899 or email [email protected]