Learn about long-term COVID effects, including brain fog, breathlessness, and chronic fatigue, and how to manage them.
For many parts of the world, COVID-19 cases have peaked. However, while hospitals are no longer flooded with life-threatening cases, thousands of people are experiencing strange long-term effects of the virus months later, such as brain fog, extreme fatigue, and breathlessness, even while doing simple tasks like talking or walking.
Here’s what research says about long-haul coronavirus sufferers and how to combat some of the most commonly reported side effects.
What are some of the long-term COVID effects?
People who first fall ill to the coronavirus report having similar symptoms, including a high fever or an occasional fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, loss of smell, and body aches.
For many people, these symptoms go away on their own, like many viruses do. Others may need hospital care, but eventually recover with the help of breathing units and medications.
However, many people are still experiencing debilitating long-term COVID effects as many as three months after they first get sick. Some people even find their health getting worse beyond the three month mark.
Reported long-term symptoms of the coronavirus include chronic fatigue, breathlessness, a fast heart rate or palpitations, insomnia or restlessness, headaches, and problems concentrating.
According to an article posted on CNN.com, numerous patients claim that brain fog and the inability to function are among the worst long-term symptoms of COVID-19.
For example, despite having a PhD in physics and no underlying health conditions, Megan O’Hara stated that her mind is not as sharp and she can’t put two thoughts together since contracting COVID-19.
She also stated it took her eight weeks before she saw her first non-coughing day. Three months after her initial visit to the hospital for coronavirus symptoms, she was right back in the ER.
Other patients with similar symptoms claim that they keep thinking they will get better in the weeks to come, but then don’t.
Research shows that COVID-19 affects several body systems and organs. Not only can it damage the lungs, but it can also affect the liver, heart, brain, nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, and skin.
The National Institute for Health Research launched a study reviewing the long-term effects of COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized. The study will be reviewing 10,000 people over the next year or longer and will provide more information about long-term symptoms.
How to manage long-term COVID-19 symptoms
While long-term COVID effects are still mostly uncharted territory, there are several things you can do to support your health through this difficult time.
Here’s how to boost immune strength to combat the most commonly reported long-term symptoms of COVID-19:
Brain fog, such as the inability to concentrate, memory loss, and even delirium, may be caused by inflammation.
According to one study, there is a link between mental sluggishness and inflammation that often accompanies an illness. The study indicated that inflammation has a negative impact on the brain’s ability to achieve and maintain an alert state.
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to support brain health due to their anti-inflammatory effects. You can get more omega 3’s in your diet by eating wild-caught fish or taking a supplement that contains proper ratios of EPA and DHA.
Supporting neurotransmitter production is another good way to combat brain fog. This can be done by focusing on digestive health as many neurotransmitters are produced in the gut.
Research shows that your gut microbiota modulates neurotransmitter production, including dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
You can boost your gut health by eating whole, plant-based foods rich in fiber and taking a probiotic supplement, and reducing sugar, refined carbohydrates, and other inflammatory foods.
Most people experience fatigue at some point in their lives. However, the type of fatigue described by long-term COVID-19 sufferers is much worse than fatigue from daily stress.
You can naturally support your energy levels by eating a healthy diet free from refined grains and sugar, and getting adequate rest at night.
During this time, it’s important to reduce stress and cut out inflammatory foods that may affect your adrenal health and the hormones needed to help you feel productive throughout the day.
According to one study on the dietary interventions and therapeutic treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, probiotics, high polyphenol chocolate, and a combination of the coenzyme Q10 and NADH were effective at improving fatigue.
Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidant flavonoids, but be sure to buy raw, unprocessed chocolate that has no added sugars or has not been refined and stripped of its nutrients.
SolCalm Balance is another helpful remedy for stress. It contains amino acid precursors and bioactive nutrients that support neurotransmitter health and HPA axis function for a relaxed, calm state.
Research shows that nutritional deficiencies may lead to lack of energy. Therefore, taking a high-quality multivitamin helps ensure that you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals needed for sustainable energy, including the B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and zinc.
People who were active and healthy before contracting COVID-19 state that they are no longer able to walk up or even talk without experiencing a shortness of breath months later.
Supporting your cardiovascular and respiratory systems and reducing inflammation in these areas during this time may help.
SolEssentials VireX contains beta-glucans, which have been shown to reduce upper respiratory systems among people who are stressed. Research shows that probiotics are also effective at managing lung diseases because they help regulate immune responses in the respiratory systems.
One study found that you can reduce the risk of COPD and improve lung function by eating a diet high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, such as those found in fruits and vegetables.
According to a 2011 study, the following remedies are also useful in the treatment of COPD and shortness of breath:
- Reducing anxiety
- Controlled breathing exercises, including pursed lip breathing and breathing in an upright leaning forward position
- Physical conditioning, including exercise
Always remember to work with your doctor if you are still experiencing long-term COVID effects long after your initial diagnosis.
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