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Blackburn carer and mum tells how long Covid has ruined her life

A BLACKBURN mum has told of the agony of living with the long-term effects of coronavirus.

Gemma Ball tested positive for Covid-19 whilst working as a carer in October and her life hasn’t been the same since.

The 38-year-old became ill very quickly and was admitted into intensive care spending more than three weeks in a hospital bed.

But after recovering from her initial infection she is now suffering from ‘Long Covid’.

Gemma, a carer from Blackburn, said: “The patient I was looking after, tested positive on a Saturday and I took a test the same day and it came back negative but I started getting symptoms that night and tested positive two days later.

“By day five, I was already in hospital. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t sit up. I was just a mess and rapidly deteriorated and within four days I already had pneumonia twice.’’

She found once out of intensive care she couldn’t walk and is still learning to do so now – nine months later.

Despite being told to go to rehab after being discharged, Gemma wanted to get back home.

She said: “My daughter has been a great support, she changes me if the carers aren’t here and helps with the shopping – she does everything for me really.

“I have carers to look after me now and lie in a hospital bed in my living room. It makes me feel like everything was just taken away from me. My choices and independence have gone.

“Long Covid has changed the way I interact with my 14-year-old daughter, making it hard to be a mum. She wants to go out and do things but we have to plan it because either I get tired or I have carers coming in. I have hospital appointments most days with physio three times a week, so it’s totally changed my life.’’

Professor Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen Council”s public health director, said: “We have had some reports of people still feeling uncertain about vaccination as they are worried about side effects. The risks of serious side effects from vaccination are vanishingly small.

“For the population as yet unvaccinated, the choice is not vaccination with very low risk, or no risk at all. It is vaccination or Covid, with the latter carrying a significant risk of Long Covid consequences.”