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Your Covid-19 questions answered

What is Covid-19 ‘brain fog’?

04 July 2022 - 07:00
Common symptoms of long Covid include shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction and fatigue. Stock photo.
Common symptoms of long Covid include shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction and fatigue. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/milkos

Is your thinking less sharp or are you having problems with memory and concentration after recovering from Covid-19? You may be experiencing what is called a “brain fog”.

According to the World Health Organisation , “brain fog” is one of the neurological symptoms of “long Covid”.

“ Common symptoms of the post-Covid condition or long Covid include  shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction, which people call brain fog, as well as fatigue. Those are the three most common. 

“However, there have been more than 200 symptoms reported in patients. That list is quite long. Other symptoms patients may experience include chest pain, trouble speaking, anxiety or depression, muscle aches, fever, loss of smell and loss of taste,” said the organisation’s head of clinical management, Dr Janet Diaz.

How does Covid-19 affect the brain? 

Cases show patients with Covid-19 can experience conditions related to the brain that include confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, stroke, loss of smell and taste, headaches, trouble focusing and changes in behaviour. 

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, patients who become ill with Covid-19 may suffer damage to their lungs, heart and brain, but other organs in the body may have been affected too and this can result in a wide variety of symptoms. 

“Long Covid may be a result of damage caused by the body’s own immune response to the virus during the initial illness, as well as the damage caused by the virus itself. However, there isn’t enough evidence yet and we do not fully understand the reason people develop long Covid,” said the institute. 

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