How Long Could Fatigue Last After COVID-19 Infection?

Medically Reviewed on 1/5/2022
How Long Could Fatigue Last After COVID-19 Infection
Fatigue usually lasts for 2-3 weeks after COVID-19 infection, although some people may experience fatigue for 12 weeks or more after the infection is gone

Fatigue usually lasts for 2-3 weeks after COVID-19 infection, although some people may experience fatigue for 12 weeks or more after the infection is gone.

Post-COVID-19 fatigue is more than just tiredness and can make you feel completely drained, exhausted, and generally unwell, which is common when your body is fighting a viral infection. You may also experience other symptoms such as:

Although it may take time for fatigue to go away, you can ease symptoms with a few lifestyle changes.

7 tips for dealing with fatigue after COVID-19 infection

1. Go easy on yourself

Don’t try to rush to resume your normal activities. You may not have the energy to take care of everything you did before you got sick, and you may need to take more time off from work than you expected. Discuss the possibility of phased return with your manager and avoid hurrying back to your normal routine.

2. Rest

Rest is a very important part of the recovery process from COVID-19 infection, allowing your body to heal faster. It’s also important to relax your mind as well as your body, so minimize your exposure to TV and digital devices to only a few hours a day. Try calming techniques such as mediation, breathing, aromatherapy, and listening to music.

3. Sleep

Fatigue can make you sleepier than before, and it’s important to get 6-8 hours of quality sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene, such as:

  • Sleeping in a dark room
  • Avoiding caffeinated drinks or foods before bed
  • Staying away from devices that emit blue light at least an hour before bedtime

4. Focus on good nutrition

Feeding your body with nutritious foods can help you recover faster and fight fatigue, so include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Limit intake of processed foods, and opt for whole grains over refined carbs. Since not drinking enough water can add to fatigue and irritability, stay hydrated with at least 8 glasses of water a day.

5. Move around slowly

While it may be tempting to stay in bed all day, try to get up and move around slowly several times a day.

6. Plan your activities

You may notice that some activities drain your energy more than others. Make a note of which ones to avoid, and which household or work tasks you can delegate to family members and coworkers. Don’t hesitate to ask for support.

7. Manage other conditions

COVID-19 infection can cause your blood sugar levels to go haywire or aggravate arthritis or other preexisting comorbid conditions. Be proactive in following up with your doctor and managing these conditions to facilitate your overall healing.

If you feel that your fatigue is worsening, contact your doctor.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/5/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Post-COVID Conditions. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html

What Is COVID-19 Fatigue? https://www.webmd.com/lung/covid-fatigue#1

Sharma P, Bharti S, Garg I. Post COVID fatigue: Can we really ignore it? [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jun 23]. Indian J Tuberc. 2021.