EVER felt lethargic after a day in the sun, or after a heavy cold? Imagine feeling like that while suffering with a life-long illness. Some people do, like ten-year-old Fergus.

Fergus, from Ealing, has Crohn’s Disease and, although he has a normal life with his parents and three brothers at home, he suffers from fatigue, cannot play sports and struggles to stay awake some evenings.

Illness aside, Fergus is described as having a ‘naturally very sunny personality’ and rarely misses school but sometimes has to when he is tube fed once a year with nutrients over an eight-week period.

Fatigue is listed as one of the worst symptoms by patients in a study by the charity, Crohn’s and Colitis UK’s (funded by the Big Lottery Fund), so Fergus has a lot to put up with at such a young age.

The illnesses are not selective about who they attack. The Only Way is Essex star Sam Faiers was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and has suffered from fatigue.

Those that watched her stint on Celebrity Big Brother 2014 will recall her ‘mystery illness’ keeping her in bed or on the sofa. She is fronting Crohn’s and Colitis UK’s campaign to raise awareness of the seriousness of fatigue in IBDs.

She said: “The exhaustion I experienced was horrible, life-limiting and a typically untreated symptom for people with Crohn’s or Colitis.”

There is no treatment that Fergus can take for his fatigue but his mother, Fiona, said the best medication he can take is sleep.

“He gets extremely tired. He has a full day at school and gives it his all, but even having dinner before bed is just sometimes one thing too much.”

Fatigue is a result of the exertion on the body from IBDs (inflammatory bowel diseases) and its invisibility means it’s difficult to put into quantitative terms.

As a result of Crohn’s and Colitis UK partnering with researchers at King’s College London, University College London and the Addenbrookes NHS Trust, the IBD Fatigue Scale has been developed and is available on www.fatigueinIBD.co.uk

Here, patients can assess the severity, frequency and duration of their tiredness. When Fergus gets older and starts going to doctors’ appointments alone, the IBD fatigue scale will help him to communicate the severity of his fatigue.

This could, in tur,n lead to his future employers being able to understand and make necessary allowances for sufferers. This movement would make a huge difference to how people with IBDs can live their daily lives.

Fergus’ mother has a positive outlook on her son’s conditions and his future, but she is unsure what Crohn’s Disease and the resulting fatigue will mean for him.

Puberty can be delayed and, as a teenager, the illness’ limitations will become harder to deal with.

Fergus has been introduced to the scale and his mother said: “I think it will be a brilliant tool.”

Fiona has a proactive and supportive approach and is concerned with finding a cure, so that the uncertainty of Fergus’ adulthood is no longer under threat.

She has been working with Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Professor Angus Watson to find a cure, and Fergus’ father, James, 48, has rowed the Atlantic to raise money for the charity.

“Crohn’s and Colitis UK have been brilliant. We have been very close with them over this year,” said Fiona.

The principal investigator for the Fatigue Scale app, Prof Christine Norton, of King’s College London, said: “Until now, patients with severe IBD Fatigue have struggled to overcome this debilitating, invisible symptom.

“We know that three-quarters of people experience fatigue during a disease flare-up, but we also know that 40-48% of patients in remission continue to suffer badly.”

It is hoped the IBD Fatigue Scale will eventually be used as standard in hospitals.