People who’ve had a long battle with COVID-19 have reported experiencing persistent symptoms even after the infection has gone. According to these individuals, among the most common of these symptoms is “brain fog,” a term associated with multiple cognitive-related symptoms.
Those who have COVID-19 brain fog may experience one or numerous symptoms that can range from mild to acute enough to impact their quality of life significantly. While there is yet to be a consensus on how to stop the brain fog, there are effective ways to cope with it. We’ll discuss some of them today.
What Is Brain Fog?
The term “brain fog” is neither medical nor scientific. Rather, it is simply a term individuals use to describe the feeling of being dull, fuzzy, or just plain “off.”
Some report that brain fog makes them unable to focus, concentrate or think clearly. They may struggle to pay attention, feel mentally drained, or have trouble recalling things. A person who has brain fog may:
- Have trouble remembering names
- Start something they eventually find difficult to finish
- Suddenly forget what they were supposed to when they walk into a room
A study of more than 230,000 COVID patients showed that more than 33% of them experienced psychiatric or neurological symptoms within the six months after their battle with the viral illness.
The Causes of Brain Fog
It isn’t really clear what causes brain fog in those who’ve had COVID. Experts continue to uncover vital information about the persistent symptoms of COVID-19 to help better those experiencing them.
While brain fog is more commonly seen in severely ill patients in intensive care, those who are mildly ill can also have it.
Some of the non-covid causes of brain fog include:
- During and after pregnancy, one can experience what is known as “mommy brain” or “pregnancy brain.”
- Cancer treatment: people who have cancer and undergo chemotherapy can experience something called the “chemo brain.”
- Multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and traumatic brain injury: cause mental fogginess
- Certain medications
The virus may even attack the brain directly in some patients, leading to such an occurrence. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. COVID-19 can also affect the heart and lead to strokes, impacting cognitive function.
According to experts, severely ill people with COVID-19 may have had certain small parts of their brain damaged from inflammation and hypoxia while breathing through ventilators.
How Does COVID-19 Affect the Brain?
COVID-19 can damage the brain in a lot of ways. There’s more than enough proof of the devastating effects this viral illness can have on our brain, including preventing oxygen from reaching the brain and causing strokes and encephalitis. Some of its effects can be more subtle, like the persistent impairment of one’s ability to pay attention.
Additionally, COVID-19 may also have long-term effects on other organs. Those sick with COVID for a long time may experience other lingering symptoms such as body aches, headache, sleeping difficulties, fatigue, and lethargy.
These issues could result from permanent damage to kidneys, heart, lungs, and other organs. All these problems, or even the symptoms alone, can impair cognitive function and brain fog. For instance, you won’t be able to focus or think clearly if you haven’t had much sleep or are feeling fatigued. There’s no way you can concentrate with a piercing headache.
What Should You Do if You Suspect You Have Brain Fog?
The first thing you should do is see your doctor and tell them all about these persistent symptoms you’ve been experiencing. And we don’t mean just the brain fog, but all the neurological symptoms you are going through — numbness, weakness, loss of taste and smell, and tingling. Problems with abnormal urine or stool, palpitations, and shortness of breath should also be disclosed. Leave nothing out because there’s a good chance all these problems are linked.
How You Can Try To Get Rid of the Brain Fog
While there’s no guarantee, you’d be able to clear the brain fog, the following brain- and memory-enhancing activities should help you cope with it at the very least.
- Perform aerobic exercises: Don’t go all-out on the first day. Limit your sessions to a few minutes, two or three times a day. There is no required “dose” of exercise to boost brain health, but the general recommendation is you aim towards a 30-minute daily session five times a week.
- Eat healthily. There’s nothing a healthy and well-balanced diet won’t help with. That said, make sure to follow a doctor- or nutritionist-recommended meal plan to have all the bases covered.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. These two substances can adversely affect brain healing, so keep them out of your system.
- Get enough sleep. Your brain and body recover when you sleep, so get enough of it.
Having brain fog after a long battle with COVID-19 can be scary.
What’s scarier is losing hope. You can still live the life you deserve even with brain fog. All it takes is a lifestyle change. Trust us; your brain and the rest of your body will thank you!