Health: How to fight the effects of long Covid

Although most people who get Covid-19 recover quickly, for some the effects of the virus can last for weeks or months. This is known as “long Covid”. In this blog I am looking at symptoms of long Covid and present some experts’ tips to help overcome them. 

 
Lasting symptoms of coronavirus can include:  
  •  tiredness and fatigue
  • headaches
  • respiratory problems, such as a cough or breathlessness or shortness of breath
  • difficulty sleeping
  • anxiety and depression
  • heart palpitations
  • chest tightness or pain
  • joint or muscle pain or soreness (myalgia)
  • Lack of stamina 
  • not being able to think straight or focus (‘brain fog’) – menopausal and perimenopausal women could be affected even worse by this particular symptom because of the hormonal change 
  • sleep abnormalities
  • change to your sense of smell or taste
  • persistent cough
 

‘Pandemic Brain’

37% of Long Covid sufferers have at least one known symptom, including brain fog, for three to six months.

The Alive! research poll showed over 9% of sufferers reported ongoing brain fog, with memory and concentration issues.

30% of those polled said they were more stressed since the pandemic started. 

30% of women reported worsening hormonal issues. Brain fog is also a known symptom of menopause. 

 

Sleep deprivation impacts brain function

76% of people polled by the The Alive! research team have a broken night’s sleep at least once a week.

Sleep abnormalities are indicated in every major neurological and brain disorder.

A poor night’s sleep can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 37%.

This leads to cravings for reward foods, often high in fat, sugar or salt but nutrient poor. 

 

Soothing the nerves

Respondents to the Poll had tried various measures including exercise, prescription medication, herbal sleep remedies, spending time with loved ones and consuming less alcohol.

27% admitted to their diet and eating habits worsening since the pandemic with limited understanding of how to meet the body’s nutritional needs.

Tips 
Good nutrition helps balance mental wellbeing.

Ensure sufficient protein for hormonal calm.

Include essential omega-3 fatty acids to modulate inflammation.

Eat a daily rainbow to ensure good nutrient intake and healthy gut bacteria.

Utilise nature’s treasure chest of herbal remedies.

Nutrient deficiency in the UK is vast and lack of knowledge in vitamins is widespread. 
 
Good nutrition and intake of the right supplements are crucial to overcome long covid: vitamin C, iron, folate, vitamin B12 (only found in animal produce and lack of it in vegan people) and most importantly vitamin D are essential especially during the winter months. On top of these supplements, St John’s Wort is great for low mood and anxiety but also for menopausal women to manage hot flushes; Valerian and passionflower are good to manage sleep issues; Rhodiola is a powerful herb to calm nerves. NO herbs are recommended during pregnancy, though! 

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