As the fast-moving third wave moves towards its peak, cases of a debilitating post-Covid complication, “brain fog,” are already being reported among survivors. The symptom, which was noted in the second wave, is being reported in rising frequency among Covid-19 survivors of the ongoing third wave.
Dr N K Venkataramana, founder chairman and chief neurosurgeon, Brains Neuro Spine Hospital, specified that 25 to 30 per cent of Covid-recovered patients go on to develop brain fog. The complication is marked by confusion and an inability to concentrate or make decisions, such as seeking medical care, which could have implications for disease severity.
“People are unable to focus, they feel lethargic and there is a sense of having lost their rhythm, which creates impediments to them getting back to work or taking action,” Dr Venkataramana said.
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According to one telemedicine consultant, incidents of people reporting symptoms resembling brain fog started to increase a week ago. “The problem appears to be manifesting earlier in the third wave because of the severe throat pain that many people experience which prevents hydration and food intake,” said Dr Haleema Yezdani of the official telemedicine consultancy collective, StepOne.
This was corroborated by Dr Venkataramana who stated that one of the ways out of brain fog is hydration and deep rest. “One of the first cases that I came across was a 50-year-old man in the city who said that his entire family, including children and adults, had symptoms of the disease although none had been tested,” Dr Yezdani explained.
“He kept asking the same questions over and over again – about whether he was infected. While it was conveyed to him that such a determination could not be made without a test, he had difficulty grasping this. The common factor among such cases is an inability to follow instruction, followed by rapid irritability,” she added.
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Fog during infection
This was certainly the experience of one person who suffered a debilitating mental block during the period of her infection. Anjali, 50, (name changed) was infected with Covid-19 in the second week of January.
“It was a mild case of infection involving myalgia, fever and cough but on the second day of fever, my mind started to go blank. I had difficulty comprehending what people were telling me. I would quickly become irritable,” she said.
Dr Netravathi M, additional professor, department of neurology, Nimhans, specified if people experience this condition during the period of infection, the brain is directly involved in the terms of hypoxia setting in creating a metabolic disturbance.
“This causes people to develop difficulty in processing information, impairment of memory – a mental block. If the condition takes place weeks after the person has recovered, an extreme immune response is likely responsible,” she said.
While Nimhans had seen a large number of such cases last year, she specified that cases from the third wave had not yet been reported at the institute.
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