Long covid leaves mum and teenage daughter bed-ridden for almost a year
Watch Victoria Davies' report
A mother and daughter from Dorset say they can now barely get out of bed because of the effects of long covid.
Sammie McFarland and her 14-year-old daughter Kitty, have both been ill with long covid for 10 months. They initially had mild coronovirus symptoms, but now they spend most of the day in bed at their home in Dorchester as they are too fatigued to do anything else.
“It makes me very lonely because you can't see anybody and you get very depressed and anxiety is really big for me,” said Kitty.
Her mother Sammie, who works as a Pilates coach, said: “Our world's become really small because I don't have the energy that I normally have, so daily tasks are virtually impossible.
"My husband has cared for us the entire time we have been unwell.
"It is literally just survival, it is not living.”
Although Sammie is battling long covid herself, it is her teenage daughter who she is particularly concerned about. She has been so unwell she has struggled to keep up with her education.
“It was obvious she wasn't going to manage a school day because she wasn't even managing a couple of hours out of bed around the house,” said Sammie.
“She is up and down all the time. If she has a short burst of energy we see much more of her old self, but then that comes with a package of two, three, four days of complete bed-rest and not even being able to come downstairs for meals.”
There is currently no research or figures on the number of children with long covid. Sammie has helped set up a support group called 'Long Covid Kids', to try to raise awareness of the condition.
In just two months, nearly 600 families have joined the group - many of whom say they haven't been believed by doctors and are now desperate for answers.
Co-founder of the group, Frances Simpson said: “I felt there was a lack of awareness and a lack of support. I was told by doctors it can't be long covid because it doesn't happen to children."
She added: “We end up in a limbo land as doctors will say it doesn't exist because there is no data, but while there is no research there is no data, so it doesn't exist.”
Money is being thrown at research into long covid - but none of the long covid clinics set up by the Government so far cater for children. Researchers say we urgently need a better understanding of this condition.
Dr Elaine Maxwell from National Institute for Health Research said: “The first thing we need to understand is the prevalence.
"We need to let parents be aware this is a possibility; we need health professionals to understand this is a possibility and we need to reassure children that what is going on is not in their head.”
But until more is known about the condition this mother and daughter are determined to warn others about the long term effects of Covid-19 and how dramatically it can change your life.