Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Fatigue is very common after viral infections and normally settles after a week. However, in some people, fatigue can continue to linger for weeks or months whilst recovering from COVID-19. In such people, fatigue manifests itself in the following ways:
- completing tasks in the incorrect order
- finding it more difficult to multitask
- forgetting to do stuff
- falling asleep for short periods of time
- feeling exhausted or yawning all the time
- becoming more irritable than normal
- becoming overwhelmed by assignments
- being uncooperative
What triggers COVID fatigue afterward?
People who have had a COVID infection can experience fatigue for a variety of reasons. There are the following:
- Even though the infection has improved, there is still a response to the COVID virus.
- The result of a severe illness. Pneumonia-related fatigue will last for up to 6 months.
What causes long-term post-COVID fatigue?
Various factors lead to extreme fatigue and exhaustion in certain individuals, causing it to last a long time. Fatigue can be exacerbated by a lack of physical activity, a disrupted daily routine, poor sleep habits, stressful jobs, care duties, low mood, anxiety, and stress.
Next Steps about post-COVID fatigue:
- Acknowledge the fatigue: It makes complete sense to recognize that your body is under a healing process, so be kind to yourself. Even if you don’t think you need it, your body always needs rest to recover, so take quick breaks during the day. Explain the effects of fatigue to your family, friends, and co-workers at work. Since exhaustion is intangible, it is often misunderstood. It’s difficult to comprehend the effects of exhaustion and how crippling it can be until you’ve witnessed it.
- Get a restful night’s sleep: After the infection has healed, and symptoms of fatigue persist, try developing a healthy sleep routine. Take having a nap when you can, because when your sleep schedule is disrupted, fatigue becomes even worse.
- Experiment with relaxation methods: Consider methods like mindful meditation, deep breathing exercises, aromatherapy, yoga, and other calming practices like reading or taking a long bath or shower. These can help with exhaustion by promoting a healthy sleep cycle and reducing stress.
- Continue to be active: Do activities that you are comfortable doing. Start taking a short walk, or carrying out a simple task such as making tea and then taking a rest. Once the amount of activity you are doing is stable, try to increase the amount you do slowly and gently. People make the mistake of raising their activity levels too fast, which can set them back. When dealing with long-term exhaustion, it is important to only raise activity levels every couple of weeks. Take it slowly and steadily and stop pushing yourself beyond your limits.
- Eat well: Following a healthy diet after healing from coronavirus is important, with a focus on protein, calcium, and protective foods like fruits and vegetables. Now is not the time to be concerned about weight loss. To restore health and stamina, it is important that you eat enough calories. Instead of one big meal, consider eating small, regular meals. Include three main meals and two or three nutritious snacks in your diet.
When do you consult your healthcare provider?
If you have any of the following symptoms, see your doctor rule out any other conditions that may be causing your fatigue:
- Your exhaustion is worsening rather than improving
- Your exhaustion hasn’t improved in four weeks
- You’re concerned or experiencing other new signs
Unlike any other pathogen, the behavior of COVID-19 has shattered all walls and boundaries, with every kind of post-COVID complication imaginable. So even for the first month after healing, be cautious. If you notice something isn’t right, don’t dismiss it. People believe that all is well once they have healed from COVID-19. You must, however, exercise caution.
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