A very common symptom associated with COVID-19 is extreme fatigue. This has been present both in patients with both mild and severe infections. Fatigue may persist long after the 10 day isolation period and can be challenging in people who are trying to get back to normal routines and to work following their illness.

FATIGUE DURING INITIAL ILLNESS
Tiredness or fatigue is often the first symptom experienced by patients during the first viraemic stage of COVID-19 infection. It is often followed by body aches, fever, headache and a cough. In some patients, fatigue has been the only symptom. In a large peer reviewed meta-analysis (compiled from 148 studies done in 9 countries) published in PLOS on 23 June, fatigue was listed as the third most common symptom in adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 (following cough and fever). Fatigue is listed among the common symptoms caused by COVID-19 on the WHO site as well as on the US CDC list of symptoms.

Fatigue during active infection can be experienced as mental fatigue:

  • drowsiness
  • lack of alertness
  • distraction
  • inability to concentrate

or physical fatigue :

  • having no energy
  • muscle weakness
  • difficulty getting out of bed
  • slow movements
  • heavy feeling in body
  • back pain
  • muscle and joint aches
  • difficulty performing activities of daily living eg dressing, washing, cleaning, eating

 

TIPS FOR MANAGING FATIGUE DURING INITIAL ILLNESS :

  • Listen to your body and rest when you need to
  • Sleep / nap during the first ten days as much as you need to
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Eat healthy food (small amounts at regular intervals throughout the day)
  • Take Vitamins B, C, D and zinc
  • Take paracetamol every four to six hours if needed for fever, headaches and body pains
  • Try to get up and move about at regular intervals (even a short walk around the room or a few stretches)
  • Breathing exercises are helpful. Your doctor or a Physiotherapist can advise or follow this link:
    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-recovery-breathing-exercises
  • Conserve energy – delegate, ask family and friends for help and don’t perform any unnecessary tasks
  • Avoid going up and down stairs
  • Keep medications, tissues and frequently used items within reach
  • Prioritise what you need to do and leave out any tasks or activities that are not essential
  • Consider using a seat in the shower
  • Limit phone calls to a few close family members or friends as talking may be tiring
  • Use relaxation techniques to help you to rest