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‘It’s terrifying’: parents’ struggle to get help for children with long Covid

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On Christmas Day, Gail Jackson’s 16-year-old daughter said she was in so much pain she thought she would die. Liliana had been briefly admitted to hospital with Covid in September. Her symptoms never went away and, as time went on, new ones had emerged.

“For months she had a relentless, agonising headache, nausea, tinnitus, fatigue and insomnia, but the worst thing was the agonising nerve pain,” said Jackson. “I couldn’t even touch her without her screaming in pain.”

On Christmas morning, Jackson drove to hospital with her daughter vomiting from pain in the passenger seat. When they got to the hospital, however, the A&E doctor said there was no such thing as long Covid in children. “He said she just needed to go home and get on with her life,” Jackson said. “It was jaw-dropping.”

It is extremely rare for children and young people to contract severe Covid, but recent research has shown that even mild or asymptomatic infection can lead to long Covid in children. A study at UCL is investigating long Covid in 11- to 17-year-olds who were not hospitalised with the disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended more research to produce guidance on how children and young people are affected and how they can be treated. However, there is no case definition of long Covid in children and young people in the way there is in adults.

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Source: The Independent, 3 May 2021

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