Health worker unaware he caught coronavirus in February given Long Covid diagnosis

Dean Dobson has been struggling with Long Covid symptoms for months (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

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A man has now been diagnosed with Long Covid despite not knowing he caught the coronavirus eight months ago.

Dean Dobson first started feeling unwell in February, when the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK was still just in double figures.

Breathing became a struggle for the 29-year-old who was sent home from work when he started feeling dizzy, Chronicle Live reported.

Dean was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection after a doctor mentioned to him that “people were panicking about coronavirus”.

In the months that followed the man from Bedlington, Northumberland, continued to struggle with dizziness, breathlessness and exhaustion.

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The 28-year-old was breathless and dizzy
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

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The health care worker went to GPs, ENT consultants and a private neurologist for help and received a series of different suggestions.

He was told the problem could be vertigo, an ear infection or neurological problems.

Finally, in October Dean saw that as a health worker he was entitled to a Covid-19 antibody test and decided to take one.

The results came back positive and health professionals have now agreed that Dean is suffering from Long Covid.

Dean discovered he had had the virus by taking an antibody test
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

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Long Covid is now recognised as the lingering fatigue and illness that plagues sufferers in the aftermath of being infected with coronavirus.

Its effects can range from slight fatigue and difficulty breathing to life changing, debilitating symptoms.

Such is the scale of the problem, the NHS is to set up more than 40 specialists clinics in England for those suffering with the long-term effects of coronavirus, Matt Hancock has confirmed.

Months after his first symptoms, Dean is off work for the foreseeable future and can barely walk to the end of his street without getting exhausted.

Dean is still off work after suffering with symptoms
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

“It's the worst thing I've ever had to experience in my life,” he said.

“At the end of February I was at work and I just started getting dizzy, unsteady on my feet, being sick, struggling to breathe.

“I went to the hospital and the doctor who examined me mentioned that people were panicking about coronavirus as it was first hitting the world about that time.

"But he said it was an upper respiratory infection and I was sent home to rest.”

Dean’s symptoms continued and, after ringing 999 when he couldn’t breathe, he was taken to hospital again and told it could be an ear infection.

He had regular appointments and blood tests over the next few months, with later potential diagnoses including vertigo, vestibular migraines and a neurological problem.

At one point he paid for a private neurologist as the NHS waiting list was six months.

Dean said: “I was at a standstill when I noticed health care workers could get Covid antibody tests, so I applied.

Medics told Dean he might have vertigo, vestibular migraines or a neurological problem
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

“Last month my test result came back positive. I rang my GP, neurologist and the ENT clinic and they were all in agreement that it was Long Covid.

“I have been left with the aftermath as it looks like my body has taken a big impact.

“I am still extremely out of breath, dizzy and have lost three stone in weight.

“I’m also off work with no proper income, and no idea when I’ll be able to go back.

“I can just about walk around the block but then I’m absolutely knackered.

“It’s horrendous, and it’s been really hard for my mental health.”

Dean has now been referred to a Long Covid clinic by his GP.

In the meantime has set up an online support group for fellow sufferers to share their stories.

The Facebook group, Long Covid Support Group, now has 400 members from all over the world.

Dean said: “It’s only been going for two weeks but it continues to grow and people continue to see what Long Covid is all about.”

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