LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s common knowledge that patients with both mild and severe COVID-19 symptoms have said that one of the things they struggle with is breathing. But after recovering from the virus, some of them say they’re also having trouble thinking.
This issue seems to be affecting a lot of COVID-19 survivors. Even those who were never sick enough to go to a hospital, much less lie in an ICU bed with a ventilator, report lasting neurological problems. They say their brain just isn’t clear.
There is a growing consensus that as many as 1 in 4 recovering patients can suffer issues with their brain. Problems range from headache, dizziness, anxiety, depression, numb limbs — lingering loss of smell or taste — and that mental slowness some call “COVID Fog”.
“Brain fog is the way a lot of people are describing it,” said Dr. Leann Silhan, Diamond Physicians. “It’s kinds of foggy, they can’t concentrate very well or short term memory issues.”
They also have trouble completing simple math in their head or struggling to find the right words to finish a thought. Dr. Silhan has treated many COVID-19 patients — and one common issue really troubles her.
“A lot of these patients were never sick enough to require hospitalization; that’s the other remarkable thing,” Silhan said. “This is seeming to happen at least to people in my experience who are otherwise extremely heathly and young.”
The illness may be mild — but the lingering effects are serious and stick around — sometimes for months.
Dr. Silhan followed one patient for nearly seven months before she finally started to feel like herself again.
Denise Valdez, Anchor: “So does it just go away with time? Is there something that you can prescribe to feel more clear-headed?”
Dr. Silhan: So far, most people spontaneously recovering, but these symptoms may be prolonged.”
No one can tell patients with neurological complications when, or if, they’ll get better because doctors and scientists are learning more about this every day.
But a study by the British Journal of Medicine issued some guidelines:
- A healthy diet
- More sleep than you usually get
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
- Rehabilitation for breathing and memory