Before catching Covid in September 2021, Harry enjoyed many activities and sports. After catching Covid, he was not able to walk without help for three weeks. He gradually increased his walking until he could go back to school but doesn’t manage to take part in PE. He experiences tiredness and weak, achy legs. When he does too much or has another illness, he feels as unwell as when he first caught Covid. Harry was interviewed in April 2022.

Harry caught Covid in September 2021 and was very unwell for three weeks. Before this, Harry was very active, playing sports, music and going to Scouts. Since having Covid, he has not been able to do very much. He built up his walking to go back to school but still can’t join in with everything. He recently reduced his time in school so that he has enough energy for fun things too and to help him recover. Harry experiences tiredness, achy and weak legs, and sometimes can’t concentrate on things, which is frustrating for him.

At home, because both his parents have Long Covid, the family have had to adapt their activities. The family don’t go out as much because they are suffering from fatigue and are wary about catching Covid again. Harry has had to adapt the things he does with his friends because they would usually play sport or do physical activities together. He finds it difficult to explain this to others and doesn’t want to be different. At school his friends, and sometimes teachers, forget he can’t join in with sports. Watching people doing the things he used to enjoy has been really hard for Harry. He has returned to his music group and lessons again, but it is sport he misses most.

At first, Harry’s mum spoke to health professionals on the phone. She also did research and connected with Facebook groups to look for help. It took time between being referred and being seen, but Harry has seen a paediatrician and been referred to physiotherapy and a Paediatric Fatigue Clinic. The paediatrician advised reducing time at school so that Harry had energy left for fun activities. They advised Harry to think of his energy levels like a battery and how different activities take different amounts of energy out of the battery. This is helping Harry to manage his energy and balance his activities over all days of the week, rather than using all his energy on school days. Overall health professionals have been helpful and supportive. Harry finds it helpful to have a morning bath which has magnesium salts in it. This helps him feel ready for the day. He also takes vitamin supplements.

Harry would suggest the magnesium salts baths to others and wishes that people didn’t have to wait so long for appointments. He thinks there should be more information available about Long Covid as this would help other children to understand what is happening to them.

A paediatrician advised Harry to think about his energy levels in terms of a ‘battery’.

Age at interview 13

Harry used to do music and play lots of sports. He is thinking about reducing some lessons, such as PE, so he has energy for other things he enjoys, like music.

Age at interview 13

Harry had heard of Long Covid before but didn’t think he would get it because he had heard that ‘children don’t get badly ill’ from Covid.

Age at interview 13