Alongside fatigue, children with CFSME commonly report dizziness, lightheadedness, abdominal pain, rash, fever and chills. One study suggests that half of all long-term school absence is attributable to CFSME. Eighty per cent of school-age children with the illness fall behind in their studies or even drop out of education altogether. Only a small percentage of people who have had CFSME return to normal health.
* The Association of Young People with ME (AYME) has a website at www.ayme.org.uk, and its helpline can be contacted from Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm and Wednesday evening 6pm-9pm, on 08451 23 23 89.
* The ME Association: www.meassociation.org.uk; its helpline (0870 444 1836 for non-members) is open every day, 10am-noon, 2-4pm and 7-9pm.
* The Action For ME website offers fact files, a list of available publications and an overview of current research. Go to www.afme.org.ukinfocentre.asp.
* To download a copy of the 2002 report by an independent working group to the chief medical officer, visit the Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk and search "CFSME".
* The Issue: chronic fatigue, TESFriday magazine, October 28 2005.