Fatigue after COVID is a real problem. Here are 5 things you can do to solve it

(ORDO NEWS) — People are often surprised at how tired they are during a COVID infection. Fatigue is not just fatigue or sleepiness. This is excessive fatigue that persists despite rest or good sleep. This is most likely the result of our body’s strong immune response to the virus.

But for some people, fatigue persists even after the infection has cleared. This can be exhausting and frustrating. A simple increase in the duration of the rest does not change anything.

Here’s what we know about fatigue after COPD and what can help.

Fatigue or weariness? What is the difference?

The term “fatigue” can mean different things to different people. Some people mean that their muscles weaken easily. The walk to the mailbox feels like a marathon to them.

Others describe general fatigue, whether they are moving or not. People may experience physical, mental, or emotional fatigue, or any combination of these.

The difference between fatigue and exhaustion is as follows: Fatigue can go away with enough rest, while fatigue persists even if the person sleeps and rests more than ever.

How big of a problem is this?

Since there is no agreed definition of post-OCVID fatigue, it is not possible to give exact numbers on how many people experience it.

Estimates around the world vary considerably. One review of 21 studies found that 13-33 percent of people experience fatigue 16-20 weeks after symptoms begin. This is an alarmingly common problem.

When should I see a therapist?

There are many potential causes of fatigue. Even before the pandemic, fatigue was one of the most common reasons for seeing a therapist.

Most serious causes can be ruled out when your therapist asks about your symptoms and examines you. Sometimes the therapist conducts an additional examination, possibly by prescribing blood tests.

Symptoms that should be of particular concern include fever, unexplained weight loss, unusual bleeding or bruising, pain (anywhere) that wakes you from sleep, or profuse night sweats.

If your fatigue is getting worse instead of better, or you can’t take care of yourself properly, you really should seek medical help.

Does this look like a prolonged COVID?

At the very beginning of the pandemic, we found in some patients a cluster of debilitating symptoms that dragged on for months, which we now call long-term COVID.

About 85% of patients with long-term COVID experience fatigue, which is one of the most common symptoms of long-term COVID.

However, people with long-term COVID experience a range of other symptoms, such as brain fog, headaches, and muscle aches. Thus, patients with long-term COVID experience not only fatigue, but sometimes no fatigue at all.

Does this sound like chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, we knew about long before COVID.

It often develops after a viral infection (for example, after infection with the Epstein-Barr virus). Therefore, it is quite clear that coronavirus can cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

There are striking similarities between chronic fatigue syndrome and long-term COVID. Both conditions are accompanied by debilitating fatigue, brain fog, and/or muscle pain.

But at this stage, researchers still haven’t established a link between post-COVID fatigue, long-term COVID, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

At this point, we know that many people experience post-COVID fatigue, but fortunately, they do not develop long-term COVID or chronic fatigue syndrome.

What can help me deal with fatigue?
Expect that you or a loved one may develop post-COVID fatigue, no matter how bad you or they felt during the infection itself.

Vaccines help reduce the risk of developing post-COVID fatigue because they reduce the chance of contracting COVID in the first place. Vaccinated people who do contract COVID are less likely to report fatigue and are less likely to develop long-term COVID.

However, vaccination is not 100% protection and there are many fully vaccinated people who develop prolonged fatigue later on.

Evidence about what helps you recover from COVID fatigue is in its infancy. However, some things really help:

1. Keep pace: Adjust the return to normal activity to your energy level. Pick your priorities and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.

2. Return to physical activity gradually: A gradual return to physical activity can help your recovery, but you may need help managing or avoiding fatigue. Some therapists – occupational therapists, physiotherapists and physiologists – specialize in this. Ask your therapist for a recommendation.

3. Prioritize sleep: Instead of feeling guilty about sleeping so much, remind yourself that while you sleep, your body conserves energy and repairs itself. Sleep disturbance is an unpleasant symptom of COVID. It is important to strictly observe the time of going to bed, as well as to rest when you feel tired during the day.

4. Eat a variety of nutritious foods: Loss of smell, taste, and appetite as a result of COVID can make this a daunting task.

However, try to view food as a way to provide your body with the energy and micronutrients it needs to recover. Be careful not to spend a fortune on untested “remedies” that often look good in small studies but fail in more thorough studies.

5. Monitor your tiredness: Keep a diary to keep track of your tiredness and look for gradual improvement. You will have good days and bad days, but overall there should be a slow trajectory to recovery. If you experience the opposite trend, see a specialist such as a therapist.The Conversation

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