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If you struggle with symptoms of brain fog after a COVID infection, you probably have a few questions about what to expect in the long run. At Medical Clinics of New York City, we had our top-notch neurologist in NYC provide some detailed answers to your questions.
Having brain fog after COVID indicates that you could have long COVID, which causes several symptoms that prevail long after your infection clears up. It can last months, sometimes disappearing only to reappear later.
A recent study from the Lancet Psychiatry Journal discovered that people with previous COVID infections had an elevated likelihood of developing neurological issues such as brain fog. While long COVID provides a common denominator for new cases of brain fog, questions about managing or alleviating it continue piling higher.
Read on for answers to some of these questions, including when to contact a doctor about your condition.
What Is Post-COVID Brain Fog?
Long COVID occurs after your initial infection. It can happen after the cold-like symptoms disappear and you start feeling better. However, when you have long COVID, some new symptoms start appearing, with brain fog among them.
While brain fog doesn’t qualify as a medical condition, many people understandably consider it a more frightening symptom. It can impair your cognitive function and significantly affect your daily life.
While many individuals lose smell or taste, others find themselves unable to make decisions or remember certain details. Post-COVID brain fog can last from a few months to a couple of years after infection.
What Are the Symptoms of Brain Fog?
Since brain fog affects cognitive function, it can interrupt seemingly simple daily tasks. You may notice that you struggle to complete certain chores that came more easily before. Some notable symptoms of brain fog include:
Do you find it difficult to concentrate on tasks like grocery shopping or writing to-do lists? If you find that you get easily distracted from common duties or chores, you have difficulty focusing.
Disordered Executive Function
Executive function refers to your ability to prioritize or complete multiple tasks in an organized fashion. When you have trouble multitasking or managing necessary tasks, it affects your executive function.
Reduced Attention Span
Do you struggle to read an article all the way through? Maybe you get easily distracted from tasks because of other stimuli. When this occurs, you likely struggle with a reduced attention span.
Short-Term Memory Loss
If you often have trouble remembering minor details, you could have problems with your short-term memory.
For example, you need to get a pair of shoes, so you walk into your closet to get them. Once you walk into the closet, you suddenly can’t remember what you needed or why you’re there. When this happens constantly, you may have short-term memory loss.
While these symptoms may indicate post-COVID, they can also signify other problems like mental health conditions or traumatic brain injuries. Speak to a neurologist in NYC for a formal diagnosis or treatment plan when any new symptoms of cognitive impairment crop up.
Are You at Risk for Brain Fog?
Whether you had a COVID-19 infection recently or never contracted it, you might want to know what risk factors play into its development. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides a comprehensive list of symptoms associated with long COVID.
If you had COVID and experienced any of these symptoms, you may already have a post-COVID condition. You have a higher likelihood of developing it with any of the following factors.
- If you opted out of receiving a COVID vaccine, your chances of contracting the virus remain higher. The National Library of Medicine reported that vaccination decreased the likelihood of death and hospitalization in over 60% of the population.
- If you went to the hospital as a result of a serious illness, your chances of developing long COVID increase.
- Any underlying health conditions will decrease your body’s ability to fight off infection. This results in a greater likelihood of long-term effects.
- Multi-inflammatory syndrome can develop during the initial sickness or afterward. This further compromises your immune system, resulting in residual health problems from long COVID.
If one or more of these things apply to you, you may experience the effects of brain fog and other long-COVID symptoms in your daily life.
How Do You Combat Brain Fog?
If you suspect you have post-COVID brain fog, you can take some steps to improve your condition over time. Most of these recommendations include prioritizing your physical and mental health while altering your daily routine as needed. Your condition may improve over time with consistent, healthy lifestyle habits.
For example, practicing sleep hygiene can help your mental and physical health recover. A solid sleep routine can help you thrive again as your body repairs itself.
Additionally, implement a nutrient-rich diet for every meal. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties help the most.
If you have the energy to exercise, do so but avoid exhausting yourself. While exercise increases oxygen intake and blood flow, it can also wear you out.
Finally, eliminate the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or other substances. These habits contribute to inflammation and other major health issues. They also increase your likelihood of COVID-related complications.
When Should You See a Neurologist in NYC?
While the above habits can benefit your overall health, you should still seek a neurologist when you experience brain fog symptoms. Several serious health issues can affect your brain health besides post-COVID syndrome. Fortunately, a neurologist can help.
Do you think you have symptoms of brain fog? Set up an appointment with Medical Clinics of New York City. Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection); same-day appointments may be available.
Learn everything you need to know about neurologists and how they can help your physical and mental health by contacting our team or exploring our blog!