What To Know About Long COVID Brain Fog And How To Manage It

Over the past two years, we have learned a lot about COVID-19. Much of what we hear about this virus involves how it affects people in the short term, but many people experience symptoms for months after testing positive. The term 'long COVID' refers to symptoms or health conditions that people deal with long after they no longer test positive for the virus (via HuffPost). Brain fog seems to be a common ailment that people with long COVID are dealing with.

Brain fog is the inability to think clearly. While many things can cause brain fog, like lack of sleep, more and more coronavirus infections have been shown to cause brain damage that can cause issues with concentration and memory. Brain fog from COVID often leaves after a few weeks, so wait it out if you recently had COVID. However, this issue can persist for months and even years in some people. Scientists believe that this particular case of brain fog is due to inflammation caused by the coronavirus. "Now we are really seeing inflammatory changes in the brain, and those inflammatory changes disrupt the functional architecture of the way brain nodes and networks are operating to control certain aspects of cognition and behavior," said James Giordano, a professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center. But because COVID affects everyone so differently, it is hard to predict who is at a higher risk of getting chronic brain fog.

How to manage these symptoms

The good news about long COVID brain fog is that it usually will go away on its own. The bad news is that it can still take a very long time for that to happen. If you continue to struggle with brain fog, the first step in managing it is to acknowledge its impact on your life. Speak with your doctor about your concerns and any other lingering COVID symptoms you may be dealing with (via Harvard Health Publishing). With your doctor's approval, there are a few things you can do to help the fog clear up more quickly.

Regular physical exercise is great for keeping the mind sharp. Try to get in 30 minutes of exercise each day on at least five days each week. Eat a healthy diet that involves plenty of healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid drugs and alcohol, which can cause issues with the brain. Make sure to get plenty of sleep at night without forgetting to participate in social activities with friends and family. Other brain-enhancing activities, like reading, listening to music, and practicing mindfulness, can also help with memory and cognitive function.