How long does it last and what to do

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Over the last two years of Covid-19, one thing that has remained constant — the fatigue lingers on. Why does this happen? An expert shares all the details.

The very first time we were introduced to Covid-19 was two years ago. Let’s just say this uninvited guest has lingered on and refuses to exit our lives! Year after year, we’ve seen the virus mutate and take on different forms, leaving us high and dry. Each variant brings with it a new set of symptoms, leaving us utterly confused and in a panic-ridden state. If there’s one thing that’s remained constant from the first Covid-19 variant to now: it is the fatigue.

The numbing pain and weakness that stays on, even after days and weeks of recovering from the virus, may leave you annoyed or even cranky. But why does this really happen? Is there any reason behind this?

fatigue post-Covid
Fatigue may continue even if you may have recovered from Covid-19. Image courtesy: Shuttertsock

Well, clearly, says Dr Dipu TS, Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Amrita Hospital, Kochi.

HealthShots spoke to the expert to know more, and here’s what he had to say, “More than half of the people who recover from Covid-19 still report fatigue, even two or three weeks later. However, in some people, it can linger on for weeks or months. There are many reasons why people feel fatigued after a Covid infection.”

What does post Covid-19 fatigue feel like?

Have you been waking up every morning post-Covid with an ache that makes you squeal in pain? You are NOT alone. Plus, as the day progresses, you experience a slump in your energy levels. And before you know it, you are drowning in drowsiness, even after having multiple cups of coffee. Welcome to a world where this has become oh-so-normal.

Let’s get to the reasons now. Dr Dipu TS explains why this happens.

“It could be due to a continuing response to the coronavirus, even though the infection has gotten better. It could also be due to the effect of a serious illness. Fatigue caused by pneumonia can take up to 6 months to resolve. In some people, there will be other reasons that make it last a long time. Low levels of physical activity, a disturbed daily routine, poor sleep patterns, demanding work, anxiety, and stress can all make fatigue worse.”

fatigue post-Covid
Extreme fatigue can also be a result of a sedentary lifestyle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What about patients who have suffered from mild Covid-19?

Dr Dipu TS reassures that in such cases, fatigue may last for 2-3 weeks from the time they tested positive for Covid-19. In patients with severe infection, it may last for certain weeks to months. Age (older individuals), sex (female), and presence of comorbidities may be considered as some of the reasons for the persistence of fatigue in individuals.

What is the solution for post Covid-19 fatigue?

Dr Dipu TS says that there is no substitute for proper rest and nutrition. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep for 7-8 hours and practice relaxation techniques. Also, plan and prioritize better, and delegate your work. Do not overlook nutrition and keep yourself well-hydrated.

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