Letter to editor: Covid-19 and the potential risk of increase in M.E.

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Dear Editor

As the nation gets to grips with containing the Coronavirus pandemic, attention must be given to the possible impact on long-term health.

Some of your readers will have personal experience – or know someone who has – of the serious neurological condition, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), or seen stories being shared to mark May’s M.E. Awareness Month.

We know that many of 250,000 men, women and children in the UK with M.E. became ill following an infection or virus. This means we face the possibility, being raised by our medical advisors, researchers we work with and international experts, of a spike in post-Covid illnesses – including M.E.

Already some people who have contracted Covid-19 are reporting lingering dizziness, nausea and crippling fatigue – all common symptoms of M.E.

We know that it is sensible for anyone with a virus to take proper time to recover. They should not push themselves, but instead listen to their body and rest as much as needed, to give themselves the best chance of making a full recovery.

Action must now be taken to investigate the long-term post-viral effects of Covid-19, and put appropriate support in place for those whose health is affected beyond initial viral infection.

To those reading this who already live with M.E., we know that living under “lockdown” thanks to chronic and often disabling symptoms is nothing new. Action for M.E.’s Crisis, Advocacy and Support Service can help source practical local assistance, and advocate for health and social care needs, as well as offering comprehensive information and support to manage M.E. Please call on 0117 927 9551 or email questions@actionforme.org.uk and we will do what we can.

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