What Does It Feel Like When You Have A Post-COVID Headache?

COVID-19 can cause many symptoms, including a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Headaches are another common symptom of the disease, and one that doesn't always leave after someone tests negative for COVID. According to Self, post-COVID headaches are a possible symptom among people who had the disease at some point, and can last for weeks or even months after recovering from COVID. Experts are unsure of exactly how many people struggle with headaches after recovering from COVID, but a recent small study showed that headaches are the second most common post-infection symptom after fatigue.

Anyone can be susceptible to post-COVID headaches regardless of age, gender, or the severity of their infection. It is also unclear why people get these headaches after they have recovered from COVID. "It could be due to sleep deprivation or being dehydrated. Both of those factors can trigger headaches," Clifford Segil, DO, a board-certified neurologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, told Self. Overmedication is another potential reason. If you have lingering headaches after recovering from COVID, talk to your doctor about the best way to treat your symptoms.

Other long COVID symptoms

If they last longer than four weeks, post-COVID headaches fall under long COVID symptoms. Long COVID refers to people who continue to exhibit health concerns long after testing positive for the virus, even if they now have officially recovered (via the American Medical Association). Long COVID symptoms last more than four weeks. Some sufferers of this sickness begin to feel normal within a month or two, while others may continue to have symptoms with no apparent cure. Long COVID can exhibit symptoms similar to the disease, like fatigue, headaches, and coughing. According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, adults with severe cases of long COVID even lost some of their capacity to exercise for three months after contracting the disease.

While dealing with long COVID can be frustrating and even debilitating, a recent study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that about 75% of people with long COVID will recover after 12 months, regardless of how severe their symptoms were. That being said, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that as of the end of September 2022, 15% of adults who had previously contracted COVID-19 were still showing symptoms of long COVID. Within that range of people, 81% of them reported that their long COVID symptoms have made it difficult to go through daily activities. If you are suffering from long COVID, speak with your doctor about the best path forward.