“What was I supposed to do here again? “Did I turn the oven off?”
“Wait, what was I saying?”—We’ve all had these thoughts at one point or another. We all have been there: we walk into a room and then can’t remember why we went there in the first place. Sometimes, we also lose our train of thought and struggle to find the right words. Such feelings of short-term memory loss, confusion, or lack of concentration may sound normal to have after a sleepless night. But, if you are finding yourself in any of these situations quite often after successfully beating the deadly coronavirus, chances are you are dealing with the post-covid-19 brain fog.
So, what does the Post-COVID-19 Brain Fog mean?
While there’s no precise definition of post-COVID-19 brain fog, this term is being used to describe the cognitive challenges faced by some people who’ve recovered from COVID-19. Once the RT-PCR test turns negative, the covid patient is often considered ‘treated’. But, the reality is that like with many other serious viral infections, the fallout of COVID can linger on long even after you’ve tested negative. There are plenty of patients who got infected with COVID-19, recovered well and then a month or two later developed cognitive symptoms, such as inability to think clearly, poor memory, grasping for words, or difficulty in concentrating and completing simple tasks.
In rare and severe cases, patients have also developed post-COVID-19 psychosis starting from hallucinations and paranoia to severe mood disorders.
But, How Does A Respiratory Disease Lead To Neurological Troubles?
A year has passed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the mind-boggling aftermath of the virus still confuses the doctors and patients. Particularly, the question which has perplexed the medical community is – how a respiratory virus can lead to neurological problems that last for weeks. While we don’t yet know the potential cause of brain fog in people who’ve had COVID-19, there could be a few different reasons for it. According to researchers, such cognitive effects are a byproduct of inflammatory processes within the brain. This inflammation hinders the ability of neurons to communicate with each other and it may be one of the reasons for brain fog. Some researchers also claim that the microstructural changes in the hippocampus and other areas of the brain after COVID-19 can also contribute to cognitive impairments.
How to Alleviate COVID-19 Brain Fog?
Unfortunately, there’s no established treatment to cure post-COVID-19 brain fog. However, as of now, adopting some lifestyle changes and healthy habits can be a great way to boost your mental function. While fighting a deadly infection like COVID-19, your body needs proper nourishment to recover. Hence, you must eat a well-balanced, healthy diet that must include “brain foods,” such as bananas, nuts, avocados, olive oil, dark leafy green vegetables, dark chocolate, and berries. Such foods contain neuroprotective and stimulant traits that help improve cognitive functions and memory.
Besides a healthy diet, good quality sleep is also essential for optimal recovery of your health and restoration of your mental capacities. So, try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep at night. To influence positive thinking and enhance cognitive skills of memory, concentration and intellect, focus on constructive hobbies such as painting, yoga, meditation, and music. Adding simple physical activities or workouts to your daily routine can also help in resolving brain fog or clouding of consciousness. You can start slow with 5 minutes of simple exercises such as stretching and bending and then gradually increase the duration over time. Lastly, stay away from tobacco products and alcohol and also cut out sugar, processed foods, and trans-fats from your diet as they are known to affect brain health.
It is still not clear that how long brain fog typically lasts after COVID-19. It can linger for weeks or even for months. However, the good news is that there is no evidence of this brain fog being permanent. So, we can be optimistic that it will be cured and you would go back to normal. Just take up a healthy lifestyle, do physical exercise and gradually resume your usual activities. People do recover. So be hopeful and positive.