Jamie had cold or flu-like symptoms, but no cough, early in the pandemic (2020). He developed breathlessness and general malaise. His main challenges were getting a clear diagnosis for his illness and getting some people to take his symptoms seriously. Jamie was interviewed in April 2021.

Jamie is an engineer in his mid-thirties. He lives with his wife and baby. Before Covid he was relatively fit and healthy.

He went to his local Covid hub in April 2020 feeling breathless. After testing his blood oxygen levels, he was advised that he probably had Covid and to rest. His wife developed similar symptoms but quickly recovered. Jamie’s breathlessness lasted for a couple of months. He developed a ‘horrible’ general malaise, and had recurring throat ulcers, sore glands and some dizziness which he found scary and made him anxious. Later in 2020 he developed severe headaches. His whole body ached. It felt like a cross between flu and sunstroke.

During the months that followed he had a frustrating and difficult time. He made several visits to his GP and to A&E and saw several specialists.

He had lots of tests, some using private health insurance through his work. He worried ‘something was seriously wrong’. He began to wonder if he had long Covid after seeing something on television. After calling a local Covid helpline, he contacted a Covid forum on Facebook. This finally gave Jamie reassurance: ‘It made me realise that this is a proper thing, long Covid.’ More recently he stepped back from the forum because he didn’t want to ‘dwell on’ it too much.

After several months, Jamie started to feel better and was able to return to work. His manager has been very supportive, but some colleagues didn’t ‘believe in’ Covid. He thinks that growing public awareness means ‘people are now starting to see it as a real illness.’ Having long Covid has made him appreciate his health and what other people who are ill may be going through.

The main message he’d like others to know is how frustrating long Covid is. It affects you physically and emotionally. It affects all aspects of a person’s life and can put a strain on relationships.