Brain Fog, Chest Pains and 18 Other Symptoms You'll Experience Post-COVID-19 | The Full Frontal

Brain Fog, Chest Pains and 18 Other Symptoms You’ll Experience Post-COVID-19

I never once thought that I’d ever get COVID-19.

I know how it sounds now that I’ve written it down and it does sound naive, but I truly never thought I’d get infected. I was always careful — sanitised and washed my hands regularly, showered the moment I got home from work or anywhere outside, kept my distance from people, basically the whole shebang.

So, how pray tell, that when I got a tickle in my throat, I decided to ignore it and chalk it down to allergies as well as push aside any possible thought that I caught the disease? And I thought getting COVID-19 was a bumpy ride. Nothing really prepared me for what happened after I thought I’d “fully recovered”.

Cerita Dia Macam Ni

All armoured against COVID-19. Source from The Japan Times

Let me give you a little summary of my COVID-19 journey, because I feel like everyone’s story is similar but a little different. 

So, I didn’t realise it at first. It had started with just a cough and some sneezes here and there. I thought it was just because of the dust in my room, so I cleaned it. But the sniffles and the sore throat didn’t go away as I stared at my sparkly cleaned room. After a few more days, I started to lose my voice. 

I finally accepted the fact that I got COVID-19 when I had a fever of 38.5 degrees for three whole days and really finally accepted it when everything I drank just tasted like water, and everything I ate was like bland baby food. 

I’m not going to lie, I took around 10 COVID-19 tests before I actually tested positive. I even went to the doctor when I had a fever and although I tested negative then, he told me that with my symptoms, it’s all in a matter of time. 

I had the virus for around less than a week, which was funny because I had shown symptoms way earlier than that. And I would personally say that my symptoms aren’t that serious because a friend of mine who also had COVID-19 said that she had to be hospitalised and fainted multiple times before testing positive.

So yeah, I thought that was the worst of it. That I’d get COVID-19 for a few days and then magically go back to normal when I’m finally free of it. Alas, ‘twas only another naive thought of mine.

What Happens After

You’re telling me I’m still sick after I was sick? Source from Nebraska Medicine 

The symptoms lasted for a few more weeks, leaving me coughing and sniffling for months. My parents made me do COVID-19 tests almost everyday to make sure that I still didn’t have it. It was frustrating to me because I’ve tested negative, so why am I still sick?

Apparently, I’m not the only one facing this issue. According to Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali, nearly 20,000 people suffer from post-COVID-19 too. What I also (unfortunately) learned was that post-COVID-19 symptoms, also known as Long COVID-19, may last up to 12 weeks and in some cases, more. And people (yeah, me) take it too lightly just because we think we’re “young and healthy”. 

So because I was curious and frustrated, I looked into what other kinds of post-COVID-19 symptoms there are. You know, just so I can be ready in case I develop any of them. And I came across some “funny” ones. 

A lot of them have mentioned that you get dumber. A survey conducted among COVID-19 survivors who returned to the community showed more than 50% experiencing brain fog for up to six weeks, about 20% up to 12 weeks and 10% up to six months.

Which, I guess is true because I have been spacing out a lot and do require a lot more brain power to answer questions that are a teensy bit complicated. It also takes a lot of time for me to complete a singular task. Besides that, there’s the hair loss, delirium, rashes, sleep problems, diarrhoea and in some cases, even pink eye. Those are the less severe symptoms, I think. 

Among all those, the ones that bothered me the most was that now I couldn’t even climb up a few flights of stairs without needing to breathe in between. I used to climb mountains without losing my breath, man! What the heck happened? And how do I stop feeling this way?

Recovering From COVID-19 And Its Persistent Symptoms

See a doctor if your symptoms persist. Source from Harvard Pilgrim 

It’s going to be a long process, I’m not going to lie. I only stopped coughing and wheezing two weeks ago. And I had COVID-19 early last month. I’d consider myself lucky.

Some COVID-19 survivors develop medical complications that may have lasting health effects. A Chinese study published last month in The Lancet showed that in some cases, post-COVID-19 can last for more than a year.

The symptoms you need to look out for in post-COVID-19 are the same as when you were having the virus. Sore throats, coughs, shortness of breath and all. If you’ve had those symptoms longer than 12 weeks, maybe it’s about time you go see a doctor. 

Which is what I should have done but didn’t, and had to suffer through chest pains, joint pains and brain fog for much longer than necessary. It just goes to show, folks, that you really shouldn’t feel all that proud of yourself and think that you can “handle a little pain”. Take better care of yourself, please. This is serious (I say this while I point at myself in the mirror).

Treating these ongoing symptoms is simple enough and has been said before: go to a doctor. I’m not going to give you advice on how else to recover because, hey, I’m not a medical professional and I don’t know your medical history and I wouldn’t want to spread any misinformation that could potentially harm you further.

Doctors will most likely know what they’re doing. They’ll probably also suggest rehab for you. No, not the rehab you’re thinking of. Well, actually, kind of similar. These rehabilitation centres are there for you to work on getting back to normal. 

In some cases, there are physiotherapists assigned to advise and guide you through how to do some simple exercises to make you breathe normally again and help your body get their movements back. 

It also has to be said that you shouldn’t take matters into your own hands when it comes to recovering from a new virus. All those Facebook posts about eating “this kind of herb” or “taking ivermectin helps you recover faster” and other dangerous misinformations may only make your symptoms worse. Seek. Professional. Help.

Remember: You have brain fog, you’re not brain dead.

What Happens If It Goes Untreated

No, please. Enough sickness. Source from Sky News

Simple — you’ll get sick longer. Your symptoms will be prolonged (by this, it may mean longer than a year or even a lifetime) and it would be a lot more difficult for you to handle if it gets worse. Although there are post-COVID-19 deaths that have happened, there hasn’t been any official numbers documented. As of 28 February 2022, Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA) had approved 17,867 eligible applications for financial assistance of post- COVID-19 deaths.

Some who suffer from post-COVID-19 symptoms may also recover on their own, but still, if you don’t feel like you can handle it, there’s no shame in seeking help.

You also wouldn’t want to be living in sickness for a long time, do you? People think that getting COVID-19 is just the end. But no, after you’ve recovered, you go into a new brand of hell. 

So the precautions you take to treat the aftermath of the disease should be of high concern as well. You may think you won’t get it, but oh buddy, I was naive once too, remember?

COVID-19 Is Everyone’s Responsibility

It’s not just about you. Source from Caldwell Medical Center

With all that taken into account, I would just like to say: please take care of yourself. If you haven’t had COVID-19 yet, continue on with what you’re doing because you must be doing something right to not have caught it after two years. Also, just because you think you’re immune, doesn’t mean you should be cocky about it. 

Think of the people around you. Yeah okay, so you’re “young and healthy” and you think you’re invincible. But maybe the ones around you aren’t. You could just be the carrier of the disease and unknowingly infect other people who might actually take it worse. So please, tread lightly. Even though we’re in an endemic, keep your SOPs. If not for you, then for your loved ones. 

How COVID-19 Irresponsible Are You?

Irresponsible feat
How irresponsible do you have to be to keep quiet about getting COVID-19? | Source