The true toll of the coronavirus pandemic sank in last Monday, when the death toll passed the 100,000 mark. The figures prompted solemn reflection and ire across the country at the government’s handling of the pandemic. For frontline workers such as Dr Mishkat Shehata, founder of The Lifestyle Code Clinic, the figures merely reflect an everyday reality.
Dr Mishkat Shehat, who is about to launch a ‘long Covid’ arm to her clinic, has seen COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic and has observed a spectrum of symptoms.
Many of the symptoms she described fall outside of the “classic” symptoms highlighted by the NHS.
“In the past year and through my practice as an NHS GP, I have seen COVID-19 cases presenting with rashes such as hives and shingles in patients as young as 16 years of age,” Dr Shehata said.
“These patients also had other symptoms such as muscle pains and fatigue but some reported no other symptoms.”
“Nearly nine months later, I also developed shingles, which is highly unusual for me because I am 32 years old and otherwise fit and well.”
The symptom took Dr Shehata by surprise because shingles usually affects elderly people and those with a reduced immune system.
“Shingles may be unrelated to COVID-19 but there has been a rise of shingles reported during the pandemic and a case report of two patients who presented with shingles and were found to be COVID-19 positive afterwards,” she said.
“It is unclear whether the shingles infection is due to COVID-19 affecting our immune system or due to the stress of living through the pandemic, which can also reduce your immunity.”
What other unusual warning signs has Dr Shehata observed?
In addition to shingles and blood clots, Dr Shehata has also encountered the following:
Rashes that resemble chickenpox, hives, prickly heat
- Seizures, delirium, loss of coordination and tremor
- Sensitivity to light.
How to respond
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible. Stay at home until you get the result.
The NHS describes the main symptoms as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” says the health body.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- You’re worried about your symptoms
- You’re not sure what to do.