A single mother who has suffered from long Covid for months has spoken of its “life-changing” effects and how she fears the condition will “explode” once all restrictions are lifted.

The latest ONS figures revealed an estimated 962,000 people in the UK have long Covid, of which 385,000 have had the condition for one year or more.

Leslie Channon from Burford caught Covid in the first wave on Friday March 13 2020 after a trip to London, she believes.

She developed a secondary chest infection and her temperature rose to 39.9°C for five days straight.

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She said: “There were moments I was no longer lucid and I was floating in and out of being here and maintaining cognitive thought.

“At times my windpipe felt like it was being constricted from the outside and it felt really narrow and I fought for every breath of air.

“I also had lots of red angry welts on my body, mainly on my legs. They were hot to touch and quite itchy. I was constantly aware of my laboured breathing. The back of my hands came out in itchy blisters that scabbed over and were painful.”

Since then she has been left with intermittent chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate although tests have ruled out cardiac issues.

She said: “The doctors conclude it is post-viral intercostal neuralgia, which I suspect is a nice way of saying that they don’t have a clue.

“Six weeks post-Covid, I was barely able to walk to the end of my driveway.”

Ms Channon started to rebuild her lung function and physical capacity by going for daily walks with her boys, Connor and Logan now 10 and 11, and their dog Gizmo.

She said: “My long Covid symptoms included shortness of breath, bizarre rashes, gastrointestinal symptoms, debilitating headaches, slowed cognitive function and extreme fatigue – the ‘not being able to get out of bed’ debilitating fatigue.”

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She said she was extremely lucky to live near Oxford where there is a long Covid clinic which she has been attending since February.

“I was diagnosed with breathing pattern disorder. I am still not out of the long-Covid woods yet, but it feels good to be finding my way back and the movement is in the right direction. Other people are in wheelchairs or have permanent lung damage.

“I am self-employed and work for a tenant charity but I’m working at a third of my capacity right now. There are things I want to do but I just have to say, I have to go back to bed. It’s just ridiculous.

“I am a trained singer and I went to my church group to sing and I had no lung capacity. I just burst into tears.

“My #LongCovid Facebook support group has been a life saver and a place to vent all my worries with people who know exactly what I am going through.

“I think this is going to explode. There are many who now may have life-changing, maybe even irreparable damage. We all read the daily death numbers and the daily number of new infections.

“We all need to understand that Covid-19 isn’t a matter of a coin toss between death or survival – there are hundreds of thousands of us worldwide who have struggled and continue to struggle with the after effects of coronavirus, and our lives may never be quite the same, at least not for some time.”