What are the risks of brain fog as long Covid sufferers complain of it – and is there a cure?


Covid-19 is known to have a wide range of possible symptoms and can continue to affect some unfortunate people long after they have had the virus. One strange symptom is affecting people’s memory

People have described 'brain fog' or 'mental fatigue'
People have described ‘brain fog’ or ‘mental fatigue’

The coronavirus affects people in a range of different ways.

Symptoms of Covid-19 can vary from headaches, to persistent cough and a loss of taste or smell.

One other strange symptom has also been recorded by people who are testing positive for the virus, but after they have had it as well.

So-called ‘brain fog’ is an unpleasant side effect of the virus that can occur in people when they have the illness, but as part of long Covid as well.

Studies into long covid are ongoing and there has been a small amount of research into brain fog since it was first reported.

So what do we know so far?

Brain fog and long Covid

People have been experiencing memory problems


Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Brain fog is not the medical term for what people are experiencing as a result of having Covid.

It is officially listed by the NHS as a symptom of long Covid and is described as “problems with memory and concentration”.

Doctor Kerry Smith told Medical News Today about her own symptoms that were preventing her from returning to work.

“The thing that’s really preventing me [from] going back to work as a [family doctor] is my cognitive issues or brain fog.

“Sorry, sorry, that’s it, you see, I lose my train of thought, that’s the problem.

“With, my brain fog, I have problems concentrating, keeping up with conversations, multitasking. I lose my train of thought easily. And I have difficulties with my memory.”

A study published in The Lancet found that 88% of the 3,762 people they interviewed about their long Covid symptoms had some sort of brain fog or issue with their memory.

It was also found that those complaining of it were not necessarily older patients.

The study explained: “Cognitive dysfunction or memory issues were common across all age groups”

What is long Covid? What to do when experiencing brain fog

There are a number of long Covid symptoms



Long Covid is when people continue to be affected long after they have had the virus and experience ongoing symptoms. Some can be minor, while others have struggled to adjust to life after having Covid.

Common long Covid symptoms, listed by the NHS, include:

  • extreme tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • tinnitus, earaches
  • feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste

NHS Inform has useful advice for people experiencing brain fog.

It is important to pursue a healthy lifestyle, so stop smoking if you currently do and have a balanced diet. Get proper sleep and stay hydrated, as well as socializing, reduce alcohol intake and do more regular exercise. Trying meditation may also help.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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