Singing lessons for Long Covid sufferers in Birmingham and Solihull

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Across the country 384,000 were still living with Covid-19 symptoms a year or more after infection

Health bosses in Birmingham and Solihull are set to pilot signing lessons to help Long Covid sufferers from November.

There has been a huge number of people suffering from the infection up to a year after testing positive - with 977 presenting themselves locally within a two week period in August.

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Nationally the ONS has recorded 384,000 still living with Covid-19 symptoms 12 months after being infected.

Details of the singing lessons pilot were revealed at a Birmingham and Solihull Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Board meeting.

Other initiatives to help Long Covid sufferers in the area include fatigue management courses and the purchase of a Long Covid van, aimed at increasing engagement within communities.

Singing lessons have been identified as a way to help those suffering with breathing difficulties, with the English National Opera already giving some lessons as seen in BBC reports.

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Long Covid campaigner Claire Hastie from BirminghamLong Covid campaigner Claire Hastie from Birmingham
Long Covid campaigner Claire Hastie from Birmingham

What are the risks of getting Long Covid?

Long Covid sufferer Claire Hastie, from Birmingham, has likened the risks of developing the condition to “Russian Roulette”.

The mum-of-three is campaigning for better treatment of the issues and has recently spoken with Health Secretary Sajid Javid stressing how important it is that people are not put at risk of catching Covid-19 in the first instance.

The condition has taken her from being an active cyclist, who’d think nothing of a 13 mile commute, to barely being able to leave the house some days.

In a Zoom call with Mr Javid last week Claire said: “The first thing we need to do is prevent more people getting this.”

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Claire founded the Long Covid Support Group in May 2020 and its Facebook page now has some 45,000 members from more than 100 countries.

She has been at the forefront of pushing for greater awareness and support for those, like her, for whom the condition has proved life-changing.

Do we know all the affects of Long Covid?

In a stark message to Birmingham and Solihull Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Board  she warned the long-term effects of Covid were still uncertain, noting the spike in Parkinson’s case that followed the Spanish Flu pandemic of 100 years ago.

She also warned that it was impossible to predict who would be left with persistent difficulties.

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For instance, she cited cases where people had been reinfected with Covid-19 and suffered immensely, having only had a mild case on the first occasion.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to this illness,” she said.

“Someone might have been asymptomatic the first time or had it for a couple of days and recovered.

“Then when they get it again, no matter whether they’re vaccinated or not, it can be really, really debilitating and literally life-changing.

“It’s like Russian roulette. You really can’t tell who is going to be at risk and who isn’t.”

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