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ME group’s covid concerns

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SPENDING extended periods at home is not unusual for sufferers of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

The chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is often brought on after a virus and, as the country prepares for week eight of Covid-19 lockdown, members of the local ME/CFS support network are preparing for a new wave of sufferers. Their annual awareness day takes place on Tuesday and chairman of the local branch, Craig Woods, is taking the opportunity to let people know how the virus could trigger post-viral fatigue syndrome. He said: “There does not seem to be a pathway to diagnosis in this region for ME/CFS and there are no specialists for us to see.

“We are very worried that those suffering from continuing symptoms will get the wrong advice and told to ‘push through’ when they should be allowing their bodies time to recover.

“Many members, myself included, fell ill after a viral onset. We see that those that fight it hard do themselves a lot of harm and often don’t recover, whereas those who treat their bodies more gently are much more likely to recover or be less badly affected.” During the pandemic lockdown the network’s meetings and social interactions have been held online – with video calls and a second Facebook page.

Craig added: “Our main Facebook page and the blog on our website are sharing the important information we need to know and we are supporting one another with advice and mental support.”

Meanwhile, members have reported trouble accessing the regular services that they need. Craig explained: “The regular B12 injections seems to be a particular problem but patients are being empowered to inject themselves, taking the risk away from attending the surgery. Telephone appointments can often suit us better too.

“Otherwise, sufferers struggle to access the online grocery deliveries that they used to often rely on because of the huge demand from the general population. We are also finding it fascinating how the world adapts to a lifestyle which has been forced upon us by ill health – it shows that more adaptions could have been made before now to adapt for the disabled and chronically ill.”

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