“Brain fog” is a lingering condition for many COVID-19 long-haulers

Mar 8 8:00am | Jennifer O'Hara | @jenohara | Comments (8)

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Fatigue and what's being called "brain fog" are turning out to be some of the most common issues for long-hauler patients recovering from COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health calls these and other symptoms, which can last for several months, post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or PASC.

Those suffering from brain fog may experience short-term memory loss, confusion, difficulty concentrating, or just feeling different than they did before they had COVID-19, even if it was a mild case of the infection.

And Dr. Billie Schultz, a Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation expert, says, though older patients more often to have these symptoms more often, younger people are also showing up with brain fog.

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Schultz says brain fog seems to be more inflammatory than infection, but there are more questions than answers about this neurological concern. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to develop rehabilitation programs to help patients recover.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Read the full transcript.

Connect with others talking about the pandemic and supporting one another in the COVID-19 support group.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

I have chronic fatigue with the exact same symptoms as the COVID-19 "long-haulers." Chronic fatigue has basically been ignored or pushed aside for decades, but after a bout with Mono, I lost my job and my complete quality of life because of nauseous, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and brain fog. No one has been able to help me. Will patients with these exact same symptoms who NEED HELP be allowed into the rehabilitation programs for the COVID patients? We have been waiting longer for this condition to be brought into the light, and it is exactly the same – chronic symptoms brought on by a virus that don't go away.

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excellent as always

LJN

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There appears to be a major correlation between “long-haulers” symptoms and post concussion syndrome (mTBI) plus chronic fatigue and other similar conditions. Brain cell inflammation in brain injury sounds just like what the podcast refers to comparing these Covid issue with concussion as Dr. Billie Schultz noted.
It’s very frustrating the lack of comprehensive resources and actual help people get when they have a concussion with ongoing post concussion syndrome…emergency rooms and many doctors brush off concussion/PCS which changes are he’s life 100% because some doctors don’t know enough about it or don’t know how to treat it. Covid may be a game changer in this respect because doctors are now learning rapidly how they can better serve the populations of people since symptoms overlap and sound essentially the same.

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@rachel6

There appears to be a major correlation between “long-haulers” symptoms and post concussion syndrome (mTBI) plus chronic fatigue and other similar conditions. Brain cell inflammation in brain injury sounds just like what the podcast refers to comparing these Covid issue with concussion as Dr. Billie Schultz noted.
It’s very frustrating the lack of comprehensive resources and actual help people get when they have a concussion with ongoing post concussion syndrome…emergency rooms and many doctors brush off concussion/PCS which changes are he’s life 100% because some doctors don’t know enough about it or don’t know how to treat it. Covid may be a game changer in this respect because doctors are now learning rapidly how they can better serve the populations of people since symptoms overlap and sound essentially the same.

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There is a major disconnect! I had my TBI six years ago! Once they stopped the bleed and I was off the meds they wanted nothing to do with me to help! It took 3 years of my own care to get me feeling better!
VERY SAD! I TOLD MY PCP THAT THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND BRAIN INJURIES.
Sundance(RB)

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@nataliem

I have chronic fatigue with the exact same symptoms as the COVID-19 "long-haulers." Chronic fatigue has basically been ignored or pushed aside for decades, but after a bout with Mono, I lost my job and my complete quality of life because of nauseous, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and brain fog. No one has been able to help me. Will patients with these exact same symptoms who NEED HELP be allowed into the rehabilitation programs for the COVID patients? We have been waiting longer for this condition to be brought into the light, and it is exactly the same – chronic symptoms brought on by a virus that don't go away.

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There is a New book published last' year called "Chronic"! I'm about halfway through. They make the point that Chronic Fatigue , Fibromyalgia, and Lyme have almost identical symptoms they call it "Lyme+"
My question is I have had the symptoms for almost three years now with no help from the medical industry.
My question is in my 75th year, and it seems to be getting worse!
Does anyone know if it does get progressively worse with age?
Sundance(RB)

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After Chemotherapy I have Similar Issues that are caused by Covid. Will I be able to receive the Same Re-Hab Treatment?

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@sundance6

There is a New book published last' year called "Chronic"! I'm about halfway through. They make the point that Chronic Fatigue , Fibromyalgia, and Lyme have almost identical symptoms they call it "Lyme+"
My question is I have had the symptoms for almost three years now with no help from the medical industry.
My question is in my 75th year, and it seems to be getting worse!
Does anyone know if it does get progressively worse with age?
Sundance(RB)

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It's a shame that no medical professionals have stepped up to answer our questions, but I think that has to do with the fact that no answers are available at this time. However, they should be able to answer the question of whether or not people with conditions other than COVID, who have been suffering with the same chronic conditions for longer periods of time, will be allowed into the rehabilitation programs opening up for COVID patients. We are the true "long haulers." I didn't even get a response from the Cleveland Clinic when I requested an appointment for my condition. I described in detail what I was experiencing, and for what length of time, etc., but no one even had the courtesy to respond and say that they couldn't help me due to lack of research and attention to CFS or ME.

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Hi all, please note that Mayo Clinic Connect is an online community where you can connect with other patients like you. Having said that, I am working on getting information for you from Mayo Clinic experts on the latest medical information available. As @nataliem pointed out, this is an evolving medical situation. We are creating a new blog space here on Mayo Clinic Connect specially for COVID longhaulers and recovery. I'll let you know when it is live later this month.

In the meantime, connect with other COVID longhaulers in the COVID support group here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/covid-19/

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