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N.B. hairdresser on breathing issues from long COVID, and the impact it’s having

Saint John hairdresser Lamanda Green says long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms are impacting her work and family life. Submitted

A New Brunswick woman is struggling with what she calls severe breathing issues nearly six weeks after catching COVID-19, and it’s now impacting every aspect of her life.

Just before the Easter long weekend, Lamanda Green woke up with an odd feeling in her throat.

“It took almost a whole day and my husband told me to just take a test to clear my mind. I took the test and it was an instant positive,” Green said.

“Within a couple hours, I started being really tired,” she said, adding that she went to bed early that evening in her home in Saint John.

Read more: Public health agency trying to find out how many Canadians struggling with long COVID

The next day, she said she woke up with “pretty much every symptom you could think of.”

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That illness lasted four to five days, but it didn’t end there.

“I’ve never, in the last six weeks, been symptom-free.”

Greene is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and received a booster shot in February.

Still, a cough, congestion, brain fog and various breathing issues linger.

The 36-year-old was diagnosed with asthma before she got COVID-19, and has always been susceptible to colds and flus. But she’s never been this sick for this long.

Green used to use her puffer for asthma about once every two weeks before COVID-19. Now, she uses one eight times a day.

“I honestly thought that being fully vaccinated, it wouldn’t be this bad,” she said.

Read more: COVID-19 symptoms linger for 2 years after infection, study shows

In the past six weeks, she has had to go to the hospital twice for breathing issues.

“It was pretty bad. The days that I went to the hospital, it was almost like I couldn’t keep the air in my lungs.”

Green has a young son, and her illness hasn’t been easy on him either.

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“The biggest thing for him is that mommy can’t play,” she said.

“It’s frustrating for a little kid when they’re used to having someone play with them and they don’t get that. I can’t easily chase after him or even pick him up, carry him, because I get winded so fast.”

Green is seen with her husband and son. Submitted

Green’s doctor has advised her to relax as much as she can and to not overexert herself.

She’ll have to work less, too.

Green has been a hairdresser in Saint John since 2009, and summers are usually her busiest season. But this time instead of opening more slots, she has to cut back her hours.

“(It) is a little bit annoying ’cause this is where I make my money,” she said. “It makes the struggle just that little bit harder.”

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She and her husband have already discussed getting rid of one of their vehicles if they need to, but Green said they should be able to scrape by.

The clients she’s worked with for years understand her situation, so she says the only concern work-wise is not being there for them as much as she was before.

“They all know how I feel about this and that I am always doing my best to protect them. So I know when I bounce back, they’ll be there.”

However, the worst part about long COVID is how people who don’t know her situation perceive her, she said.

“If I go out in public, that’s what it impacts me the most, because I feel like I sound contagious … like people distance themselves from you, because you sound horrible.”

Read more: New Brunswick parent worried as province has ‘no plan’ to bring masks back in schools

She said she believes her sickness could have been prevented.

“I’m very bitter that I’ve done everything that I could to stay healthy, and now I’m sick because some of the rules got dropped a little bit too soon, in my books.”

Green said she wishes masking was kept around a little bit longer, especially in schools.

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She said she wants people to understand what an impact COVID-19 can have on some people.

“I know that unless they’re impacted the way that I have been, they’re not going to listen.

“I’ve been told so many times basically, that my illness doesn’t even matter because I have asthma, so that’s the reason I’m sick — it’s not.”

Green hopes people continue to stay safe, and that her symptoms “pitter away” soon.

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