image captionJade Townsend said before her illness she did “all the typical young person things”
A woman has said she is worried she will “never get back to my normal self” months after catching coronavirus.
Jade Townsend, 22, was active and sociable before spending just one night in hospital after contracting Covid-19.
But she said she can no longer work and suffers chronic fatigue, fevers, nausea and a fluctuating fast heart rate.
Researchers studying long-term effects of the virus said they hoped to prevent a “cycle of illness where the symptoms continue”.
Many coronavirus patients have reported debilitating symptoms continuing months after falling ill, which can include breathlessness, chronic fatigue and brain fog.
image captionJade Townsend stayed overnight in hospital with antibiotics for the early stages of pneumonia
Dr Rachael Evans, from the University of Leicester, has worked on a UK-wide investigation into the long-term effects of Covid-19 for patients admitted to hospital.
“I’ve been a qualified doctor in the NHS for 23 years and I’ve not seen anything like it in respiratory medicine,” she said.
“At the moment it is just so unknown… we’re still very much at the point where we’re learning what the after-effects are.”
Dr Evans said understanding “long Covid” should ease future strains on healthcare services and wider society.
“If people are left to deal with it themselves there can often become a real cycle of illness where the symptoms continue,” she added.
image captionJade Townsend said she now needed almost as many hours asleep as awake
Five weeks after catching the illness in mid-March, Ms Townsend, from Witney in Oxfordshire, was taken to hospital with a high fever and difficulties breathing.
Five months later, she has had to give up her job at a nursery and said she “can’t imagine” resuming her social life.
“I’m now nearly needing more hours of sleep than time awake,” said Ms Townsend.
“It worries me at 22 I’ll be stuck with some of these symptoms and I won’t ever be able to get back to my normal self.”
Dr Evans’s study aims to recruit 10,000 people to assess their physical function and mental health, also taking samples to analyse their genes and immune system.