Long COVID 一sometimes called long haul COVID or post-COVID一 refers to symptoms that last for several weeks or months beyond your initial illness. According to the World Health Organization, long COVID symptoms develop within three months of having COVID-19, last for at least two months, and aren’t caused by another condition.
Here at Physicians Medical Urgent Care, Drs. Ines Munoz De Laborde and Svetlana Burkhead see many patients for COVID here in our San Jose, California, office, and we know that many people do see signs of long COVID. That’s why we created this guide to help you manage symptoms of long COVID.
Manage fatigue from long COVID
Fatigue is one of the most common COVID symptoms, and it’s also a common post-COVID symptom too. To help manage fatigue, keep these tips in mind:
- Try to break large tasks into smaller chunks to avoid overexertion
- Create a schedule of your daily tasks and estimate the time required for each one 一 this helps keep your schedule reasonable
- Practice good sleep hygiene to avoid making the fatigue worse
- Go for a walk or try gentle yoga 一 exercise can help boost energy levels
- Stay hydrated and eat nutrient-dense foods to help support your energy levels
Remember to be compassionate with yourself!
Tips for coping with shortness of breath
Many people feel out of breath easily after COVID, but there are a few strategies you can try to help improve your breathing. First, avoid any position that makes your breathing worse. Laying on your belly, for instance, can help your lungs get more air than when you lay on your back. You might also feel more comfortable sitting and leaning forward, or laying on your side with your head propped up.
Deep breathing and other breathing exercises can also help you gain more control over your breathing.
Tips for brain fog
Both COVID and long COVID are notorious for causing brain fog and difficulty concentrating. Brain fog is frustrating, but you can help manage the symptoms by:
- Taking notes or setting reminders on your phone
- Getting a good night of sleep
- Trying mindfulness or puzzles 一 both of which are good for your brain
- Avoiding alcohol
Eating a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in brain-healthy foods like olive oil, salmon, and walnuts, is also good for your brain.
Tips for boosting your mood
Dealing with the lingering effects of COVID is frustrating, but like the long haul symptoms, this one can also be improved with lifestyle modifications. Eating nutrient-dense foods, getting a good night of sleep, and exercising can also improve your mood.
Tips for alleviating joint pain
Muscle aches and joint pain may start when you’re first ill, but these symptoms can linger for weeks and months. Stretching, gentle exercises (such as yoga or Tai chi), and light swimming can help strengthen your muscles, keep you flexible, and improve your joint health. You may also benefit from over-the-counter pain medication and topical muscle creams.
Tips for managing the loss of taste and/or smell
Not everyone loses their sense of taste and/or smell, but for those that do, the return of these senses can take days, weeks, or even months after the initial infection. Resist the temptation to add more salt or fat to your meals in an attempt to taste the food. Instead, focus on trying new textures. As your senses start to return, add flavor with spices and herbs.
Can you prevent long COVID symptoms?
The best way to prevent long COVID symptoms is to protect yourself and others from becoming infected through proper hand hygiene, avoiding those who are sick, and staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.
Here at Physicians Medical Urgent Care, we offer a variety of immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Regardless of your vaccine status, if you have any symptoms that mirror COVID-19 一 cough, fever, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell 一 don’t hesitate to walk into our urgent care. We offer COVID-19 testing and can confirm if your symptoms are related to COVID or another viral condition, such as the flu.
Questions? Give us a call at 408-207-4637 or book your appointment online.