May 29, 2023
With Dr. Jonathan Fellows, Board Certified Neurology Specialist
No one could have anticipated in March of 2020 the staggering toll COVID-19 would have on the world as millions lost their lives and others continue to suffer long-term health consequences. But now, more than three years later, the public health emergency has expired in the U.S. Even though the W.H.O. still classifies COVID as an ongoing global health threat, there is cause for optimism as we are at long last reaching a point where increased levels of immunity may soon lead to a reduction in virus-related deaths.
But what can we expect going forward and what about the ongoing impact on patients still experiencing long COVID symptoms? How are those individuals doing today? What are the more common long-term symptoms and are these patients finally doing better and feeling some relief? If so, what treatments have proven effective in treating long COVID? Here’s what we do know today: while the range and severity of symptoms can vary greatly from one patient to the next and a small minority of patients continue to suffer from ongoing kidney, cardiac, and circulatory issues, most patients diagnosed with long COVID experience less severe symptoms.
In addition to a loss of smell or taste, some of the most common symptoms include chronic fatigue and brain fog, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal issues, and headaches. For patients suffering from these long COVID symptoms, a number of different medications are recommended that could help reduce brain fog and chronic fatigue and may help with inflammation and provide relief from long COVID body aches and pains. In addition to these medications, doctors recommend that patients adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and manage their stress — all of which have been shown to reduce symptoms of long COVID. If you want to learn more about the possible effects of long COVID and how it can be treated, you’ll want to listen to Florine’s interview with Dr. Jon Fellows, a board-certified neurology specialist who talks about specific neurological symptoms experienced by those patients diagnosed with long COVID.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
What are the most common neurological symptoms that COVID-19 patients are experiencing?
What does “brain fog” mean?
Can you have “brain fog” without having had COVID-19?
Does the vaccine help with long-hauler COVID-19 symptoms?
Why do only certain COVID-19 patients experience severe neurological symptoms?
How much does obesity factor into developing neurological diseases and conditions?
Should people who have had COVID-19 still get the vaccine?
Are diabetic people more at risk for COVID-19?
What, if anything, can help these symptoms disappear?
Dr. Fellows mentions other common neurological diseases.
What are movement disorders?
What danger does the new variant present?
What are Dr. Fellows’ thoughts on those who are hesitant to vaccinate?
Why hasn’t the FDA fully approved the vaccine?
Important stroke warning signs and symptoms to look out for.
With many of us returning to work, socializing with friends and family, eating at restaurants, and attending sporting events, life is feeling very different from a year ago! But not all of us are so fortunate. For those COVID-19 patients who are experiencing ongoing symptoms, they feel like they’re still in the thick of this pandemic.
As we’ve heard, while most of these symptoms will disappear or improve over time, there are things we can do to minimize our symptoms. Maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in some form of exercise, controlling stress, and getting good rest and sleep are important steps. If you’re one of the lucky ones who stayed healthy during the pandemic and didn’t get sick, that doesn’t mean you weren’t affected. Perhaps the lack of social interaction affected our mindset and we experienced a cognitive slump this past year. Do you feel as if you lack energy and focus? It’s easy to drift into a sort of malaise when we’re not being mentally stimulated by work and social activities. So, how can we re-engage and strengthen our cognitive abilities? Reading, playing trivia games, assembling puzzles, or whatever you can do to stimulate your brain are ways to sharpen your skills and improve your critical thinking. Remember that every day is a gift and your brain needs exercise just like the other muscles in your body. So stimulate and challenge your mind! Get out there and try new things. Experience new places, make new memories, and just enjoy every moment! I’m Florine Mark and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”
“A day doesn't go by that I don't have a patient come in that had COVID-19 weeks ago and is still having symptoms, and probably the biggest one is that brain fog.” — Dr. Fellows
“This is so this long hauler syndrome is not unique to COVID-19. We've seen this forever.” — Dr. Fellows
“Studies have shown that the patients that have the greatest immunity against infection, or really reinfection, in this case, would be patients who have had COVID-19 and then went on to get the vaccine. That's the magic bullet right there.” — Dr. Fellows
“Brain fog, by and large, is one of the most common complaints that patients who have had COVID-19 complain of.” — Dr. Fellows
“In general, patients are getting better about a month after COVID-19.” — Dr. Fellows
“About 10% of all patients who get COVID-19 will go on to develop long-hauler syndrome.” — Dr. Fellows
“The patients that are most at risk for long-term health problems are the patients that are more likely than not to develop the long-hauler phenomenon.” — Dr. Fellows
“The single best thing we can do in terms of brain health is activity.” — Dr. Fellows
“I would say that the vast majority of patients show improvement to complete resolution.” — Dr. Fellows
“What I tell patients is that it has been my ticket to enjoy life a little bit. I can feel very comfortable going places being around people just knowing that I'm vaccinated and that I have that layer of protection.” — Dr. Fellows
Brought to You By:
Mentioned in This Episode: