Mum’s lesser known Covid ‘headache’ symptom left her ‘feeling like a pensioner’

A mum bedridden with Covid over Christmas has described how the disease "left her feeling like a pensioner" and how it started with symptoms not typically associated with the virus.

Sarah Jane McIntyre, 35, says she is past the period of isolation but fears leaving her house after the sickness hit her hard.

She added it all started with a "horrendous headache", which is not among the most commons symptoms of a fever, cough and loss of smell and taste described by the NHS.

The mum, who has asthma, said she "can not even describe how sore" she was and keeping her eyes open even felt difficult too her.

She also had extreme fatigue and struggled to walk down the stairs, leaving her feeling like she is 80, not her mid-30s.

Over Christmas, Sarah Jane said she managed to get prepared for her children but on the day she suffered from diarrhoea, vomiting and dizziness and said she "nearly fainted" in the bathroom.

Sarah Jane told BelfastLive: "No one understands, it is out there that the symptoms are a high temperature, cough and loss of smell and taste, but it has been so much more than that for me.

"It started with the most horrendous headache, I can not even describe how sore it was, even keeping my eyes open was horrific.

"No one tells you how tired you will get, walking down the stairs is tough. I don't think people realise how serious and contagious it is, I am still getting over it and I am on day 12.

"I am lucky I am able to stay at home and be with the children and not have to go to hospital, some people are not that lucky."

She added: "No one understands the fatigue, you are so tired, you are not 35, you feel 80.

"It is the most horrendous illness I have ever had."

"On Christmas Eve I felt so sick, I have wee ones and had to carry on but I felt nauseous the whole day.

"I did not lose my sense of taste or smell, my husband has Covid too and his symptoms are different to mine as well.

"I went back to square one on Christmas Day, had a rip-roaring temperature and each day I was sleeping more than I was awake. Now I have a cough that takes my breath away.

"Covid does not care who you are, what age you are. It is a roller coaster of symptoms and it changes like the wind. I could wake up feeling OK then feel so, so ill.

"I was allowed out yesterday but the fear of going out has taken over."

She added: "I just thought, I have a headache, it is horrendous but I will carry on, but as the day went on I could have fallen asleep at my laptop, I could not keep my eyes open and my skin hurt," she said.

"I just thought, this isn't normal, and I was freezing, I could not get heat into me.

"I didn't want to risk seeing anyone so I went and got a test that afternoon. I did not expect to be positive, I thought it was a bit of a cold but the Saturday I found out I was positive.

"I balled my eyes out."

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The mum has now passed the isolation period for the virus but admits she cannot "face the public" despite knowing she is "lucky to not be in hospital."

In a bid to help people understand how serious the virus is, Sarah Jane said: "I am lucky not to be in hospital, others are not so lucky.

"People need to understand how contagious this is and how awful, I would describe it as brutal. Both my sisters had it and we have not been in contact with them, they are three weeks in and still suffering, they are older than me.

"It has long term effects, people need to realise it is not a cold.

"I fear I am never going to feel like me again, I long to feel like a normal 35-year-old again but at the moment I am a long way from that."

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