Jake developed Covid symptoms in late November 2020 at the same time as five of his classmates but didn’t have a positive Covid test. He felt that NHS doctors have tried their best but don’t know what’s going on, so he went to a private doctor. Jake was interviewed in November 2021.

Jake developed Covid symptoms around the same time as five of his classmates in late November 2020, and his whole year group was sent home from school. He didn’t get a positive Covid test, but his symptoms – including Covid toe – made him sure he had Covid. Over the next couple of months, Jake started to get spells of a spinning head and they happened more and more. In mid-January, Jake’s left arm went numb and he was sent to hospital.

After a couple of months, Jake’s arm slowly got better. In February, he was given medicine for a fever and rash he had, which he felt also helped with his spinning head. Although his head wasn’t spinning as much, he felt that he was still getting light headed and thought that he might faint. This feeling gradually got worse and Jake ended up fainting almost every other day. At this time, he would spend all day in bed or on the sofa, and sometimes wouldn’t shower for a couple of weeks.

As Jake didn’t have a positive Covid test, he felt it made consultations with his doctors more difficult. A number of doctors dropped Jake’s appointments because they felt he was “outside [their]… expertise”, and he found that his age meant he was bounced between paediatrics and adult care. Jake felt that his hospital appointments were really helpful because the tests were quick and his results came back fast.

At one point, Jake’s family decided to go through private healthcare to see if they could get some help. One private doctor used a tilt-table test and was able to diagnose Jake with PoTS (postural tachycardia syndrome – an abnormal increase in heart rate that occurs after sitting up or standing), which was a relief. Before going private, he had been told that his symptoms might have been “just mental” and so his PoTS diagnosis reassured him he wasn’t “going crazy”. Jake felt that NHS doctors had done what they thought was right but didn’t really know what was going on.

After getting his PoTS diagnosis, Jake felt that consultations became much easier – especially after he also got his Long Covid diagnosis in March 2021. Jake had been referred to a Long Covid clinic but felt that it wasn’t very good because it wasn’t in-person and he didn’t know what he wanted from the service. However, Jake felt the fatigue therapist he saw after getting a cold and relapsing for around three months was much better. Jake had been struggling to sleep and was given melatonin for this, as well as working on energy plans with the therapist to get back to doing what he loved before Long Covid.

Jake had recently joined a group therapy session for other 16–17-year-olds with Long Covid. Jake felt that this group has been “helpful to see that [he’s] not alone” but would warn people not to compare themselves and their recovery with others.

Jake says that melatonin has helped him to sleep and group therapy with other teenagers his age has helped him feel that he’s not alone.

Age at interview 16

Jake was feeling better over the summer, but his symptoms relapsed after he caught a cold.

Age at interview 16

Jake really likes his fatigue specialist and has had a very positive experience with her.

Age at interview 16

Jake’s symptoms changed across several months. These included discoloured toes, head spinning, numbness in his left arm, fever, rashes, and fainting.

Age at interview 16