On the evening of December 19th, 2020 I experienced fatigue, chills, and slight body aches. Thinking it was flu, I took some anti-flu medication and went to sleep. When I woke up, I still felt extremely tired. I ended up lying in bed for the rest of that day.
After a few days, I started feeling better but my energy level was still low. I decided to take the Covid test and lo and behold – I tested positive.
It’s almost 10 days after I’ve contacted the virus and the quarantine is over but I still experience fatigue. It’s as if my inner battery went from functioning at 100% to 40% capacity, which causes me to get tired fairly quickly, something I have never experienced before.
It took me some research to find out that what I experience is called Long Covid. Long Covid is basically an illness that is followed after you contact Covid-19 virus and could last up to 8 months (more about Long Covid here). The symptoms of Long Covid are the same as for Covid-19. Below is the list of symptoms as reported by the CDC:
• Shortness of breath
• Joint pain
• Chest pain
• Difficulty with thinking and concentration (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
• Muscle pain
• Intermittent fever
• Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
• Cardiovascular: inflammation of the heart muscle
• Respiratory: lung function abnormalities
• Renal: acute kidney injury
• Dermatologic: rash, hair loss
• Neurological: smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty with concentration, memory problems
• Psychiatric: depression, anxiety, changes in mood
It’s important to note that the symptoms vary from person to person and having Long Covid doesn’t mean that you will have all the symptoms together. For example, I only experience fatigue.
A few very important things to note about Long Covid:
• Only 1 in 4 people will have it
• Although it could last up to 8 months, these would be extreme cases. More often it would last around 3 months or less.
This Too Shall Pass
As I still experience discomfort myself, I wanted to share my story as a way to support and bring awareness to this topic. So if you had Covid-19 and you still experience the symptoms, keep in mind that there is no need to panic or fear this.
Even though it’s not pleasant to experience, we need to focus on solutions, rather than waste time worrying about the problems. Gladly, there are solutions. I’m going to list a few from my personal experience but I also highly recommend you to watch the video below and follow the author of the video for even more practical tips.
1. Consult your doctor to rule out all risks – never take anyone’s word but your doctor’s when it comes to your health.
2. Avoid intense exercise – a week after the end of my quarantine, I decided to exercise and it was a bad idea. I ended up feeling very dizzy and exhausted afterward. Keep in mind that you need to give yourself some time to return to 100% battery capacity before you can go back to the old exercise routine.
3. Take breaks when working – my work requires a lot of cognitive effort and I noticed that I get tired more often now, so I take a break after each hour or even 30 minutes sometimes to “recharge” my battery.
4. Drink more water or tea (avoid coffee and alcohol) – keeping your body hydrated is always a good idea.
5. Watch what you eat – I noticed this one early on but it was the video below that helped me realize what I was doing wrong. Basically, you want to follow a low-no histamine diet for some time.
6. Rest – rest as much as possible. I love walking and it sucks that I can’t do much of it right now. But I’m going to get there soon. For now, though, I need to get back on track, so rest is what is best.
7. Keep the faith – this is a temporary challenge. Work with evidence and keep your focus on the solution. This too shall pass.
Make sure to watch this video for more tips on long Covid recovery: