Living with long Covid: 'My memory has never been this bad'

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Thousands of people worldwide are suffering from the lingering effects of Covid-19 – from anxiety and struggling to breathe to coping with hair loss. Health24 spoke to a number of  long haulers. This is Nurjehan's story.

Nurjehan, 69

Contracted Covid-19 in November 2020.

My short-term memory is terrible. At 69, I'm not a young person anymore. But my memory has never been this bad. I’m normally very active and I've been running my own business since the age of 55.

I do have comorbidities like diabetes and high blood pressure, and I was a chronic pain sufferer before my Covid infection, but everything's become so much worse after the infection. Now I can’t even do my shopping comfortably.

Most of the time I’m just at home. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’d talk to my sister on the phone and then in the middle of a conversation I'd forget what we were talking about.

I wouldn't remember what I wanted to say. We all have memory lapses as we get older, but mine has definitely got worse after Covid.

I have had these phobias since my Covid infection and don’t go anywhere besides the supermarket. It was my sister's 70th birthday [in May] but I didn't go because people discriminate against me because I had Covid. Someone said they wouldn't attend the birthday celebrations if I went.

I had Covid in November – it's more than six months ago – but some people are still avoiding me, thinking I'm infectious. The only contact I have with my family now is via the telephone. It’s not the same. It’s terrible.

*Many people suffer from the long-term effects of Covid-19, even many months later. If you are one of those people, and wish to share your experience, let us know, and your story can be told in our Living with long Covid series. You are not alone. E-mail your stories to

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

READ | Long Covid: More than 200 symptoms identified, many with a negative effect on work life

READ | If you’re living with long Covid, a Stellenbosch University researcher needs your help

READ | Like a 'blanket of fatigue': Inside Groote Schuur’s long Covid clinic

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