What parents need to know about 'long covid'

Last updated: 10-10-2020

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What parents need to know about 'long covid'

NICE has confirmed it is recognising and developing guidelines to help GPs identify and treat 'long covid'.

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This week we've heard that guidelines for doctors on dealing with 'long covid' are being developed by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and the RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners).

This will be good news for the many parents who've been sharing their stories about the long-term effects of the illness – both on themselves and their children, even in those who weren't very poorly in the first place.

In a statement, NICE said that as many as 60,000 people in the UK could be affected by long covid.

Netmums spoke to mum-of-two Leanne, from the LongCovidSOScampaign group about the impact of long covid on the members of the group.

She’s been suffering herself since March and says her 6-year-old son has also shown signs of long covid.

‘My son has some of the things that I only picked up on through knowing how long covid works myself. He’s got red blood cells still in his urine which is really unexplained and he's going for further investigation on. And he feels like something is buzzing in his tummy, which is something that others, including me, have experienced with COVID.’

Leanne also told us about a friend whose 5 year old still hasn’t returned to school as she’s just not well enough, despite first getting poorly right back in March.

‘She goes up the stairs and she gets out of breath.’

The support from GPs has, says Leanne, been mixed. Partly because of the lack of guidelines, some doctors are very supportive and investigate what might be behind the symptoms but some parents have been ‘fobbed off.

‘Our message is that long covid doesn’t just affect adults but CAN affect young children too.

'We welcome the NICE guidelines and hope these will give both GPs and patients a clear pathway to better care and rehabilitation.’

In an interview with The Mirror, mum-of-five Charlie Mountford-Hill has shared her shocking story about the long-term impact of the virus.

Charlie thinks that two of her five kids had coronavirus back in March, and then a month or so later her entire family seemed to develop unexplained symptoms that are still having an effect today.

'It's changed me forever. I've had to watch my children be sick for six months – and be sick myself.'

The symptoms Charlie talks about include including skin rashes, 'Covid toe' and diarrhoea.

Mum-of-five Lucille Whiting told Channel 5 news that she – and her 9-year-old – are still poorly almost six months after testing positive for COVID.

'My 9 year old just can't shake it, it just keeps nibbling at him.'

Watch the interview with Lucille to hear about the mix of symptoms, including developing itchy hives and sickness.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people – adults and children – who catch coronavirus seem to have mild symptoms with no long-lasting impact.

But, as NICE has indicated – and as we reported earlier this year – many people, including children, don't simply bounce back from a coronavirus infection.

And they're finally getting the official recognition needed in order to better understand how to treat long covid.

Last month, Public Health England published guidance about the potential long-term effects of coronavirus.

The document says that around 10% of cases who were NOT admitted to hospital have reported symptoms lasting for more than 4 weeks.

The list of symptoms people have been suffering with is long, and includes a chronic cough and shortness of breath, mental health problems such as depression, inflammatory disorders such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, ongoing headaches, skin rashes and fatigue.

A study from King’s College London confirmed a link between a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and infection with coronavirus.

While MIS-C can be serious, it is still rare.

The experts' understanding of coronavirus has been growing steadily since the virus first appeared at the end of 2019 and this announcement from NICE about long covid will reassure many parents who have been suffering.

Dealing with long covid while trying to look after children who themselves have some pretty nasty symptoms is a challenge none of us want to face, and certainly not without whatever support is needed.

Stories like the ones collected by LongCovidSOS, plus anecdotal evidence from parents and families on social media, paint a heartbreaking picture about what some families are going through.

Netmums' own GP, Dr Kenny Livingstone, has this advice for concerned parents:

'If any parents are worried that their child is experiencing any ‘long-covid’ symptoms, in the first instance they should speak with or see their GP. Although longer term and persistent symptoms from Covid are relatively rare in children, some children are still experiencing them. Some of the more common symptoms may include persistent fatigue and struggling to think clearly.

'Your regular GP will be able to discuss all of their symptoms and if warranted, refer them on for more specialist paediatric assessment.'

For more about long covid, watch this video which features more stories from those affected.

See our round-up of the best face masks for adults, here.

You can also buy multipacks of masks here at Amazon so you'll always have one spare. See more details, here.

Etsy also sell handmade fabric masks. See more details here.

Talk to other parents about your experiences with long covid on the chat thread below...


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