A DOCTOR in Worcester has raised concerns over the rising number of 'long Covid' patients he is seeing each day.

Dr Jason Seewoodhary, a GP at Barbourne Health Centre in Worcester, is now seeing up to nine people a day with long Covid, and he's urging anyone with symptoms to seek medical care, as some may not even realise they had coronavirus.

Explained: What is long Covid? Symptoms, advice and statistics 

Dr Seewoodhary said: “Eight or nine a day is what we are seeing, and there is probably plenty more not consulting for advice, so I really want to reach out to those people and encourage them to come in, and see your GP.

“Around 10 per cent of people with Covid-19 infection will develop long Covid, and it is extremely debilitating. Common symptoms of long-Covid include incredible fatigue, difficulty sleeping, feeling short of breath, difficulty concentrating and memory loss, dizziness, joint and muscle pains, loss of appetite, a constant ringing noise in the ear called tinnitus, depression, anxiety, fever, headaches, palpitations, exhaustion, feeling sick, and loss of appetite.

“Treatment is geared towards lots of nutrition, lots of hydration, regular medical reviews with your GP.

“Sometimes when people have those symptoms they don’t realise. They think 'Well, I’ve recovered from Covid, it’s not Covid anymore', and think it could be something else.

“Long Covid also does not relate to the severity of your Covid illness. You could have the mildest symptoms, or be asymptomatic and not know you had Covid – and you could still go on to develop long Covid.

“Most patients recover spontaneously, albeit slowly with rest, symptomatic treatment, and gradually increasing physical activity.

“Trying to stop smoking and limiting the intake of caffeine and alcohol will help.

“Patients should be encouraged to purchase a pulse oximeter, which is a simple instrument placed on the finger that records oxygen levels. If this is low then you should seek urgent medical advice.

“Long Covid is also associated with deterioration in mental health and support from community link-workers, peer support groups, GPs and cross-sector partnerships with social care groups should be sought.

“If there are ongoing concerns regarding breathing, chest pain or weakness then a specialist assessment maybe indicated. All patients should discuss this with their GP. Patients who are deemed extremely clinically vulnerable would require regular assessments by their doctor.

“In three or four years we will know a lot more about long Covid.”

Nic Kimberley, who grew up in Fernhill Heath near Worcester and believes she is the longest Covid-19 sufferer in the UK, said she was pleased more attention was being given to long Covid as previously it had been “hidden under the carpet”.

Miss Kimberley said: “A year ago no one wanted to know, now there is far more attention on it. It should be a concern - we need more GPs (like Dr Seewoodhary) talking about it.

“Office for National Statistics figures show 600,000 people have it, and around 93 per cent don’t go back to work.

“There could be a lot more people suffering that we don’t know about. It will be an economic drain, and a huge drain on the NHS.

“Although I’m better, I’m still not recovered, and still living a life that is very limited. I still have painful and swollen joints. The biggest one for me though is fatigue. I sleep 20 hours a day some days.

“I still have headaches, high blood pressure and a racing heart beat.”

The 53-year-old, who currently lives in Cheltenham and is a former BBC radio journalist, added she was a member of the Long Covid Support Facebook group, so said anyone suffering from symptoms should seek help from their GP, and get help from a support group like theirs.

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