What Is Covid-19 Brain Fog — And How Can You Clear It?

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We have come a long way since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and we are familiar with its symptoms – fever, cough, and troubled breathing. However, the impact of the virus on survivors is far-reaching, with long-lingering side effects.

Have you ever faced episodes where your body is perfectly fine, but your mind is puzzled and confused? Does reading a newspaper or solving a simple question in the maths exam seem like an arduous task for you? When one experiences these symptoms, one might suspect them as neurologic issues. Well, the exact reason behind the strange feeling could be due to the aftermath of long COVID. This type of unique side effect is examined in the section of people known as COVID-19 brain fog.

So if you tested positive in the past and are having trouble completing a task or finding it extremely difficult to remember certain information, you are not alone. However, the real question that perplexes the medical community is – how a respiratory illness-related virus can cause cognitive problems like reduced attention span and memory loss.

Here’s everything you need to know about the COVID-19 brain fog and how to avoid the symptoms.

What is COVID-19 Brain Fog?

Typically, brain fog happens due to extreme stress, lack of quality sleep, overworking, and depression. However, recently brain fog has been making its way into headlines due to its close link with COVID-19.

When analysed at the cellular level, COVID-19 brain fog happens due to inflammation which affects the delicate balance of hormone levels. It impacts the entire system and takes a toll on your cognitive function. Researchers have noted such changes in the brain and nervous system post-infection, contributing to a cluster of symptoms called Brain fog. 

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19 Brain Fog?

We all have experienced brain fog at some point in our life. Brain fog is not an exactly medically diagnosed condition and is a common phenomenon to describe the feeling of being fuzzy or spaced out. The symptoms of the collective condition might vary, and some of the symptoms are listed below.

  • Lack of memory power
  • Reduced mental clarity
  • Poor concentration
  • Absence of proper clarity
  • Constant feelings of mental detachment
  • Mental fatigue
  • Having a hard time thinking and understanding easy situations.
  • Persistent headaches
  • Confusion and Forgetfulness
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Feeling annoyed and have a short temper than usual

How does COVID affect the Brain?

There is no solid evidence that proves why COVID-19 causes bring for? Numerous studies have been analysing the long COVID since its inception to understand how the virus will impact the overall health of affected individuals. Some studies have shown that COVID patients will have certain brain changes due to immune and inflammatory responses in the nervous system. It is also believed that the COVID-19 virus passes through the blood-brain barrier through the nasal passage. Upon reaching the olfactory nerve, it will directly transport to the Brain, resulting in neural damage.

Steps To Steer Clear From COVID-19 Brain Fog

Two years into the pandemic, some patients still can’t shake the feeling that their brain is running in a maze. Whether it’s because of COVID-19 or not, leaving the brain fog unnoticed for a long time will bring your life to cease, making it hard for you to perform even simple daily tasks. However, fortunately, the vast majority of people struggling with COVID-19 brain fog will steadily recover with time. Patience is the key, as the recovery will take weeks to months and even longer.

In the meantime, to help you, we have listed some effective ways to tackle the symptoms.

  • Consume a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Eating well by adding essential nutrients is the key to providing the adequate nourishment your body needs to stay healthy. Hence your diet should encompass whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and legumes are believed to be best for sharpening your brain power and improving overall cognitive function. In addition, make sure to reduce the intake of excess salt and sugar.

  • Exercise your body and mind

Exercise is known to improve your physical and mental health. Regular exercises have been proven to improve an individual’s memory and accelerative cognitive performance. If you find performing exercises challenging after recovering from COVID-19 infection, consult your doctor and start with small steps. Even walking for at least 30 minutes a day and five days a week can benefit your body and mind.

  • Get a good night’s sleep.

When you sleep, your body and brain will remove the toxic elements and work towards natural healing. Hence make a good night’s sleep a priority to manage the symptoms of COVID-19 brain fog and keep yourself sharp. Ensure to have at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep by creating a peaceful environment and following the regular schedule.

  • Participate in social activities

Humans are social animals. Experts have mentioned that social interaction will benefit your mood and positively affect your memory and thinking ability. Therefore try to spend some time with your friends and family to maintain a positive mental attitude.

  • Mind your mental health

Stress, anxiety, and depression can take a deep toll on one’s ability to concentrate and think logically. Therefore, taking care of your mental health is crucial if you have been suffering from COVID-19 brain fog. You can consult a therapist to overcome negative emotions and practice meditation and yoga.

  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco

Alcohol and tobacco have harmful chemical components that can increase the inflammatory response in your brain cells, further worsening the condition. It will also disrupt your sleep quality, indirectly affecting your memory power. Hence, avoid drinking alcohol or smoking as little as once or twice.

  • Stay engaged

Keep your mind focused and sharp by engaging in your favourite mentally-stimulating activities. You can read a book, listen to your favourite music, participate in recreating activities, learn a new skill, or simply challenge yourself to complete a crossword in the newspaper. Whatever you do, the task should help you practise mindfulness.

 Summing Up!

Living with COVID-19 brain fog is a challenging process that will affect the overall quality of your life. As a common side effect of COVID, the brain might last from a couple of weeks to a month after the illness has been cured.