Abigail is 13 and at secondary school. She caught Covid for the second time in July 2021 and has ongoing symptoms including chronic pain, breathlessness, and fatigue. Abigail also has hypermobility and ADHD. Abigail is back at school and starting to do more things she enjoys. She feels like she is recovering even though she still has a way to go. Abigail was interviewed in April 2022.

After catching Covid a second time in July 2021, Abigail was left with chronic pain—especially in her legs—breathlessness, and fatigue. She feels that already having hypermobility made it worse. She also developed bad pain in her jaw that was later diagnosed as a specific jaw disorder. She had been taking medication for ADHD which was helping with her sleep patterns, but new symptoms after having Covid led her to lose weight and her medication was stopped. That made her sleep worse until she could be restarted on it. Abigail was struggling to concentrate in school and falling asleep in lessons, and in December 2021 her GP said that she may have Long Covid.

Before catching Covid, Abigail was very active and loved climbing. She misses climbing and being able to join in with sport with her friends, but she feels she is gradually getting better and will get her life back. Abigail still uses a wheelchair sometimes, and her younger sister finds it hard to understand why she can’t run around like before. The family have adapted to starting later in the mornings, going to places that are wheelchair accessible, and having rest days to recover. It takes more planning. It has been hard to adapt to doing less, because having ADHD makes her mind very active and looking for interaction and activity. This is better now that she is back on medication for her ADHD and is building up the amount of activity she can do.

Abigail is back at school. A teacher that supports her with her existing disabilities put in place a series of measures so she can take breaks from lessons, miss PE, and avoid standing in line at lunchtime, which would lead to her getting tired. The school is well-equipped with special PE programmes for children with different disabilities and Abigail is starting to join in when she can. Her friends noticed the change in her and they have been supportive as they are used to Abigail and others having health conditions. She is starting to have more energy after school for visiting her family and reading but it can be difficult to spend time with friends because of all her health appointments. Abigail doesn’t mind telling her friends about her Long Covid to help them understand, but sometimes people can make her feel like she is being told off for something she can’t control, such as when strangers ask if she really needs her wheelchair or crutches.

Abigail’s mum contacted her GP who was helpful in identifying Long Covid and referring Abigail to a Long Covid clinic. She sees a paediatric consultant, psychiatrist, and physiotherapist every three months. Initially Abigail was a bit scared because of the newness of Long Covid, and not knowing how long it would last, but she has found the healthcare professionals that she sees to be really helpful and respectful. She works with the physiotherapist for the pain in her legs and is starting hydrotherapy. She also takes regular pain relief to help through the day and with sleeping at night. She has been using a pain scale to help her judge when to take a break from activities. She and her mum use social media sites to read about other young peoples’ experiences, but Abigail doesn’t use it much. Abigail has had two vaccines which reduces her worries about catching Covid again. She would encourage others to listen to their doctors and thinks that clinics should have appointments that don’t mean missing school. Abigail would like research to focus on trying to estimate recovery times.

Abigail (13 years old) recalled how her doctor spoke to her kindly and respectfully, like an adult.

Abigail doesn’t want to catch Covid again for fear she would “plummet,” but says she’s happier now she’s been vaccinated.

Abigail said her school was “very on top of” ways to help her manage her Long Covid. She was allowed to leave class, including P.E., if she needed a break. She had an early lunch pass to avoid standing in a queue.

Abigail’s friends have been “completely fine” with her having Long Covid and are very accepting.

Abigail says that although strangers can be unkind when she uses a wheelchair, friends have been ‘very accepting’ and ‘respectful.’

Abigail learned about the pain scale from her physiotherapist, which helped her to work out if she could manage certain activities.

Teenager Abigail wished there was a factsheet about Long Covid, but nobody really knew anything.