Published: 06:00, 13 July 2020
| Updated: 14:17, 13 July 2020
Five months after a mum contracted coronavirus, she is still suffering from its dreadful after-effects and says she "just wants her life back".
Heather Izzard, 45, from Barming, started displaying the traditional symptoms associated with the virus in early March and nearly half a year on, still has a tight chest, breathlessness, sleepless nights and is exhausted after minimal activity.
Ms Izzard, an actress, was initially swab-tested for the disease by paramedics and told she had influenza.
However, doctors have now said they are all but positive she had the virus and the test was inaccurate.
Medics at Maidstone Hospital believe she now may have chronic fatigue syndrome and cannot tell her when the symptoms will subside.
Ms Izzard, mother to an 18 and 10-year-old, said: "It has been five months and I am just not getting any better, I can't escape it.
"The doctors thought the virus was going to clear up in a week. It can affect everyone, not just old people.
"I was a fairly healthy person before, I was jogging... now I can't even walk down the road or the kitchen most days. I just want my life back."
Neighbours and friends have kindly stepped in to help single mum Heather with the children.
Apart from hospital appointments, Heather doesn't leave the house often.
"I have gone twice to see my horse but then I'm back in bed for two weeks. I can walk with the children or the dogs but then the symptoms come back and I'm back to square one."
'I can't even walk down the road or the kitchen most days...'
Most people with coronavirus return to normal health once the infection has been fought off, but it is becoming clear that a minority, like Heather, struggle with long-term symptoms for months and weeks, such as fatigue and aching muscles.
Speaking about the problem earlier this month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was difficult to assess how many people were in this situation, adding: "Some people have long-term effects that look like a post-viral fatigue syndrome."
Scientists are beginning to investigate the lingering effects of the virus, with a research unit established in Sheffield to support Covid rehabilitation, including helping people to recover physically.
Heather has offered to be a case study for the unit and has already told them about her symptoms. She is waiting to hear when the research will begin and what it will entail.
It is only in the last few weeks that the public has become aware of the long-term sufferers, known as 'long haulers', Heather says.
She said: "We are not the ones on ventilators but we are suffering at home and we are often left to it and forgotten about. We have been left with no support and there's only so much doctors can do."
More by this authorKatie Heslop
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