How to spot Covid fatigue: From when it strikes to intensity – the symptom explained

Dr Hilary Jones explains nine new symptoms of Covid

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Whether it strikes out of nowhere or it’s present from the moment you wake up, fatigue is a common sign associated with a variety of health problems. Both Covid and long Covid also come hand in hand with this stubborn sign. Fortunately, the time of onset and severity could help you spot whether it’s pointing to an active coronavirus infection.

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study app has explained that millions of their users reported fatigue to be the symptom of a Covid infection.

While the NHS didn’t recognise this sign for a while, the health service has now added the symptom to their list.

ZOE shared that tiredness is even more “common” than the traditional symptoms of Covid, including fever, cough, and loss or change to a person’s sense of taste and smell.

What’s more, this symptom is considered to be an “early” sign of an ongoing infection.

One way to distinguish Covid fatigue from other health problems is its intensity.

ZOE said: “Fatigue in COVID-19 is not the same as normal feelings of being tired or sleepy. 

“It’s a type of extreme tiredness or feeling wiped out that persists despite resting or getting a good night’s sleep.”

The Covid data app added that it also might affect your day-to-day activities.

Covid fatigue can also crop up even after doing small tasks.

“It can feel difficult to walk up stairs, do normal chores or even to get out of bed,” ZOE noted.

Another thing that could be hampered by fatigue is your concentration or remembering things.

Sometimes, people describe these signs as having “brain fog” – this is especially common when you suffer from long Covid.

When it comes to the time it strikes, fatigue tends to appear within the first week of the infection.

The “early” sign usually sticks around for five to eight days but, unfortunately, some might suffer from this annoying problem for much longer.

However, it’s worth noting that tiredness is linked to various infections and health problems so it doesn’t necessarily have to be caused by Covid.

ZOE added: “Although many people with COVID-19 experience severe tiredness, most people who feel tired or worn out will not have COVID-19.”

Other coronavirus symptoms could help you identify whether you are suffering from the virus.

According to the NHS, the main Covid signs include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Aching body
  • Headache
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

Even though you’re no longer required to self-isolate by law, the health service still recommends staying at home when you suffer from Covid symptoms.

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