Post-viral fatigue: a guide to management (2022)

This guide has been written byThe British Association for CFS/ME (BACME) which is a multidisciplinary organisation forUK professionals who are involved in delivering clinically effective services forpatients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (referred to aseither CFS/ME or ME/CFS).

The information provided in this guideline draws on the clinical knowledge of stafffrom a wide variety of therapy and medical backgrounds, who have many years ofshared experience working in the field of chronic fatigue. People who havedeveloped post-viral fatigue and ME/CFS; and carers of people with ME/CFS have also been involved in writing this document.

(Video) Coping with post viral fatigue

Why does it matter how you manage fatigue when you have been ill?

This guideline aims to give advice to help people after an illness, such as a viralinfection, to try to manage and reduce the fatigue that they may be experiencing.There has been very little research done looking at how to manage fatigue in theearly stages following an infection. We don’t yet confidently know the scientificanswer to whether managing fatigue in different ways leads to different outcomes interms of recovery. Many people who have experienced fatigue for a longer period oftime, along with those who have developed ME/CFS, report that they wished theyhad received good advice earlier on in their illness regarding how to manage fatigue.Fatigue can interfere with every aspect of day to day life so learning how to copewith it, and feeling confident with helpful strategies, may help to reduce the impact ofthe fatigue.

(Video) What Is Post-Viral Fatigue, How To Detect It, And Ways To Manage Symptoms

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a common symptom of many different infections. It is a normal part of thebody’s response to fighting an infection. Usually the fatigue goes away quickly oncethe body has dealt with the infection.Post-viral fatigue is when the fatigue that started with a viral infection continues for alonger period of time after the infection has gone. Other types of infection can alsolead to ongoing fatigue symptoms.Fatigue can be difficult to describe and is often referred to as ‘an invisible symptom’.People who experience severe fatigue will often describe a feeling of completephysical and mental exhaustion which is different to the everyday tiredness thateveryone will experience at times. Recovery after activity changes, so rest and sleepmay feel unrefreshing.Fatigue can impact on every part of life including school or work, home life, socialactivities, sport and relationships.

Who gets post-viral fatigue?

Post-viral fatigue affects people of all ages, including children, young people, andadults of all ages.The severity and length of time that someone experiences fatigue doesn’t alwaysreflect the severity of the initial infection or their previous fitness levels.Some people can be very unwell at the start of the illness but recover relativelyquickly, whilst other people may only have a mild viral illness but go on to havedebilitating fatigue for a long time afterwards.

How to manage fatigue during the infection

REST: This is most important as it allows your body to focus on dealing with theinfection. In this context, rest means resting the body and the mind, so doing verylittle – no TV, phones or using the internet. Use relaxation, breathing and meditationapps to help support quality rest. If something doesn’t work for you, try somethingelse until you find something that does. Using quality rest periods regularly throughyour day will support your recovery – little and often is more helpful. Reduce anysensory input that makes you feel tense or is demanding – such as noise and brightlights. You can also use sensory input to help you rest and relax – like your favouriterelaxing music, blanket, fragrance, or a hot water bottle.
ACTIVITY: Keep activity levels low – both physical and cognitive (thinking)activities as they both use energy. If you are struggling with boredom, your mind isbusy, or you are anxious, try and think of low-energy activities that are enjoyable. Dothese for short periods of time with regular rest breaks.
NOURISH: Keep eating and drinking, with as normal a routine as possible andmaintain a balanced diet. Little and often may help if your appetite is low, rather thanbig meals. Increase your fluid intake, especially if you are not managing to eat asmuch.
MOVE: If possible, get up and move around slowly and gently a few times eachday to keep your body moving and to aid circulation (the movement of blood aroundyour body). If you are too unwell for this, then you can try and move around in bed alittle – stretching out, moving all of your joints, and tensing and relaxing yourmuscles.
ALLOW TIME: Infections can affect people to different degrees, so give yourselfthe time you need to recover. The impact afterwards doesn’t always reflect theseverity of the infection. Often there will be pressure to get back to your usualactivities as soon as possible. Do not rush or push.
HAVE FUN: Do some low energy enjoyable activities every day. Whatever you like thatis not effortful. Balance activity with regular rests.
STOP STUDIES/WORK: Unless you feel fully well, you should stop studies orwork to allow your body to focus on fighting the infection and recovering. Don’t forgetunpaid work such as caring responsibilities is still work. In these situations, you mayneed outside support to take on your caring roles.More detailed information regarding these strategies is covered on the ‘FurtherInformation’ pages

(Video) Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome Update | What Works What Helps + Advice

What are the next steps?

TRY ACTIVITY: If you feel your fatigue is improving, try a small amount of lightactivity (probably less than you think) and then REST a little. Try the same activityagain, perhaps the next day. Find the level which is manageable for you. Reflect anddecide if your body can do more or needs even less activity. Do your best to resistpushing through your fatigue. Keep your expectations low and listen to how yourbody copes with this transition. Be realistic and KIND to yourself.
‘THINKING’ ACTIVITIES: When starting to improve, it can be easy to forgetthat ‘thinking’ activities such as checking emails, reading, making decisions, andworrying about yourself or others all use energy. Try limiting these activities by doingthem for a set time, then take a REST. Gradually increase these activities in a similarway to physical activities. Some people find that these activities take longer torecover.
SLOWLY INCREASE ACTIVITY: Often people try and increase their activitylevels too quickly and so have a setback. If in doubt, go more slowly but steadily.When working with people living with long-term fatigue, activity might only beincreased every couple of weeks. You might not need to go this slowly, but it givesyou a sense of pace. Trying to ‘push through’ the fatigue is normally unhelpful.
REST: Your body needs rest to continue healing. Continue to have short reststhrough the day, every day, even when you are improving. Stop and do nothing,calm your mind, perhaps by using breathing or guided relaxation strategies. Let yourmuscles relax completely.
DAILY ROUTINE: Maintain a realistic daily routine for sleeping, eating and dailyactivities to help the body to stabilise itself. Gradually change back to your normalroutine, but don’t RUSH. A healthy person can take 2 weeks to adjust to a sleeppattern change, so it may take you longer.
EXERCISE CAREFULLY: Exercise needs to be approached in the same wayas all activity. Gentle exercise, such as stretches, or a short walk can be helpful.Even if you usually do a lot of exercise, it is important that you only do a smallamount of what you normally would do and at a much lower intensity. Resumeexercise SLOWLY, wait to see how your body reacts, then increase very gradually.
STUDIES/WORK: You may have to take longer off school/college or work thaninitially anticipated and arrange a gradual return. For children and young people,make sure the school is aware that they are experiencing fatigue and will needchanges to their learning programme such as a later start and a quiet supervisedrest area if in school, or supported work if at home. If you are working, speak to yourmanager and get occupational health advice to see what adaptions can be made.You may also need a Fit note from your GP. Longer term support options may needto be identified for unpaid work/caring roles.
HAVE FUN: Don’t forget you need fun in your life. As people start getting back to daily life, they focus on all the things that seem necessary, but you need to balance this with enjoyment. Choose to spend some energy on fun activities too and increasethem gradually like other activities.

Recognise that it is difficult

EXPECTATIONS: It can be difficult to accept and adapt to feeling fatigued whenyou expected to make a quick recovery and return to your normal life. Many peoplefeel guilty and try to ignore the fatigue to carry on with their usual activities. Otherpeople around you can also have expectations that are not realistic now and thisadds to feeling pressure to do more than is helpful for you at the current time.
ACCEPTANCE: Whilst it isn’t always easy, trying to accept that the fatigue isreal and needs managing is the most helpful way to approach it. If you accept thatlife will need to change for now, then it is more likely that other people around youwill see that as well and support you with it. Many other health problems require alonger period of recovery (sometimes called convalescence) and post-viral fatiguewill take time to improve, sometimes taking many months.
SUPPORT: Ask people around you for their support. This could be from familymembers, friends, work colleagues as well as health professionals such as your GP.Talk about the fatigue and explain how it makes you feel and what you can currentlyrealistically do. Give clear ways that they can support you, such as short regularchats or texts to keep in touch, recognising you need regular rest periods, practicalhelp such as shopping and cooking.
SCHOOL/COLLEGE: Make sure the school or college is aware that the child oryoung person has fatigue and that changes are needed. There are many aspects ofschool that can aggravate fatigue symptoms. Some examples are: the effort ofgetting to and from school, the noise and demands of being around lots of people,the expectation to work and behave as normal, worries about falling behind, failingexams or missing important lessons or projects. Many people with fatigue will bebetter able to learn if they are in control of doing it when their fatigue is less severeand by doing activity for short periods with regular rest periods. This is often easier todo at home, so it can be helpful to ask teachers/lecturers to set work that can bedone at a slower pace at home. As the fatigue improves, the amount of time theyoung person spends in school or college can be increased gradually, ideallyproviding opportunities for rest periods during the day.
WORK: You may need to think differently about your approach to work. It iscommon for people to need long periods of time off work when fatigue symptoms aresevere. As your health improves, it is worth considering how you could apply the
pacing strategies in your work role such as asking for regular short rest periods,avoiding high demand tasks, doing shorter days, avoiding night shifts or variable shiftpatterns, or changing the days you work. You can ask for an occupational healthassessment to help with the process of having adaptions made for you at work.Many people return to work on a ‘phased return’ and it is important that the increasesin work activities are made very slowly and gradually to avoid causing an increase infatigue.
RESPONSIBILITIES: If you have responsibilities to care for other people suchas children or family members, this is work as well and will become harder tomanage when you have fatigue. It is likely you will need to make adjustments.Consider asking for help from family, friends, carer support organisations or social

(Video) COVID-19 and Post Viral Fatigue: Growing Recognition

Further information

REST: Achieving good quality rest can be one of the biggest challenges ofmanaging fatigue. If possible, create a relaxing place to take a rest. Telling othersaround you that you are resting can reduce interruptions. Setting an amount of timethat you are going to rest for is a good way to give yourself permission to rest andremove some of the feelings of guilt.Many people have busy minds which constantly have new thoughts, ideas andworries and this is an additional demand on the body’s low energy reserves.Learning how to rest your mind can be challenging but can be extremely helpfulwhen dealing with fatigue.Finding a relaxation exercise that works for you and then doing it regularly, lots oftimes a day, every day, can be beneficial. Simple breathing exercises are a goodstarting point. Mindfulness type techniques which teach you to bring your focus andattention into the current moment will help with busy minds.
PACING ACTIVITIES: It is common for people with fatigue to want to increasetheir activity levels, but this can lead to an increase in fatigue. Some people will getinto a ‘boom and bust’ pattern where they push themselves to do more on a betterday and then feel worse for several days afterwards.Pacing is a way of doing activities differently to try and reduce the chance ofincreasing your fatigue, by breaking the activities up into manageable amounts. Alltypes of activity can impact on fatigue so pacing applies to all activity, such ascognitive or ‘thinking’ activity, social activity, emotional and physical activity.When breaking up the activity into manageable ‘chunks’ you might then rest or maybe able to change to a different type of activity. For example, don’t try to do all yourchores in one go, just because you’re feeling a bit better. Do a task for a short timeand then take a break and rest, have a drink, or listen to music or watch TV beforethen doing another task.How you need to pace an activity may be different from someone else. Allowyourself enough time to complete the activity so you don’t need to rush. It is better torest before an activity has caused an increase in fatigue. Remember the phrase:‘rest before exhaustion’. Have sufficient rest before moving on to the next activity.Thinking about how to change the way you do an activity can reduce the amount ofenergy you use to do it. For example sitting for activities that you would normallystand for, asking for help from others, making activities as simple as possible, usingequipment to make it easier and choosing which activities are a priority at themoment.
THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS: It is common for fatigue to affect how you arethinking and feeling, including increased anxiety, frustration, irritability, guilt, and lowmood. It is helpful to acknowledge that it is a challenging time for you and thosearound you. Your mind and body work together so looking after your emotionalwellbeing is also important for healing and recovery.Talking about how you are feeling, keeping a diary, focusing on the present moment,doing a deep breathing exercise, or doing something enjoyable are all ways to copewith difficult feelings. Different things will work for different people, so find thestrategies that work best for you.If mood problems are persisting and impacting on everyday life, then speak to yourGP to get further support and help.
SLEEP: It is common for sleep patterns to change when someone experiencespost-viral fatigue. Some people will find it harder to get to sleep or wake often in thenight, whereas other people may find they are sleeping far more than usual. Nomatter what changes have occurred, it is important to try to keep a good routinearound sleep. Have a clear going-to-bed time and a regular wake-up time and try tostick to this every day, even if the quality of your sleep hasn’t been good.You should also be aware of the environment for sleep. By keeping your bed forsleep helps to cue your body into sleep mode when you go to bed. Ensuring it is darkenough, quiet, and cool will also support sleep quality.
Morning: Getting daylight exposure in the morning is helpful for sleep routines, sotry to go outside soon after you get up or be near a window while you havebreakfast.
Evening: Reducing blue light exposure on an evening can help with night-time sleepquality. Screen use is an important source of blue light, so try to reduce or stop allscreen use before bedtime. Wearing amber coloured glasses is another way toreduce evening blue light exposure. Having a regular wind-down routine before bedcan also be helpful.
Night-time: Mobile phones are our connection with the world, friends and family,entertainment, and social interactions, so they can keep our brains alert. Decide on a time to switch your phone off well before bedtime.
Naps: Many people experiencing fatigue will take daytime naps, and this can be ahelpful way of managing fatigue. However, sleeping for long periods of time duringthe day can prevent good quality night-time sleep, so it is better to create a clearroutine around daytime naps. Aim to nap for 20-30minutes and take it at the sametime each day. Late morning or immediately after lunch are the times when manypeople experience an energy dip. Thinking of it as a siesta can help remove the guilt.
FOOD: Eat simple, fresh, and balanced meals that you enjoy. You may find eatingsmaller amounts more often may be helpful.Fatigue can make it difficult to prepare meals, so try using foods which are quick andeasy to prepare but still have good nutritional value for example frozen vegetables ortinned foods. If people want to help, it is worth asking them to cook extra so thatportions can be frozen for you.Beware of reaching for sugar, caffeine, or alcohol as a way of managing fatigue.Although there may be an initial boost in energy, they will result in a ‘crash’ and inthe long run, tend to make fatigue symptoms worse.Keeping well hydrated with regular fluid intake throughout the day is important. If youfeel that your diet isn’t as good as it could be, then taking a general multivitamin may
be worth considering. However, there are no supplements that have beenconsistently proven to help or cure fatigue, so do not spend lots of time, money orenergy trying to find one.

Moving forward

You may be starting to feel better gradually, but it can take several months andsometimes a year or more for people to feel fully recovered from post-viral fatigue.If it is gradually improving, keep going.Don’t forget to keep quality REST, ROUTINE, and FUN in your life to support yourrecovery. Remember that stress and worry use energy so give yourself time and bekind to yourself.

How do I know if I have ME/CFS?

Most people who experience prolonged fatigue after an infection will make a fullrecovery. However, some people will go on to experience significant fatigue for along time and may also develop lots of additional symptoms alongside the fatigue.In a small number of people, post-viral fatigue can develop into a longer-term orchronic illness known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(ME/CFS). This is a condition which results in a wide array of symptoms, includingsevere fatigue, which can cause significant changes in someone’s life, oftenmeaning they are unable to work or attend school, cannot engage in social activitiesand may struggle with activities of daily living. Recovery from ME/CFS is variableand some people continue to have symptoms for many years.The risk factors for developing ME/CFS are still not clearly understood and mayinclude some genetic factors. ME/CFS doesn’t always start following an illness,however it is a common pattern to see people develop ME/CFS following an infectionthat occurs at a time of high demand in their life.One of the key symptoms that occurs in people with ME/CFS is Post-ExertionalMalaise or PEM. This is when there is an increase in fatigue, along with flu-likesymptoms in response to activity. The activity that provokes this escalation can besimple everyday tasks including thinking activities as well as physical activity. Theincrease in fatigue is commonly delayed by 24 hours or more, so a typical pattern isfor someone to try to do a bit more on a good day and then wake the next dayfeeling much worse, often with a sore throat or sore glands and generalisedachiness.
As well as post-exertional malaise, people with ME/CFS develop a lot of additionalsymptoms with different patterns occurring in different people. Some people developpoor standing tolerance which means doing tasks while standing still (e.g. showeringor washing up), can cause a rapid increase in fatigue or pain and result in themfeeling the need to sit or lie down. There may also be palpitations, problems withregulating body temperature and sweating.
‘Brain fog’ is a common feature of ME/CFS and is where people feel mentallyfatigued and struggle to concentrate. They often report forgetfulness and difficultyfinding the right words when speaking or struggling to keep track during aconversation.
It is common for people with ME/CFS to experience some change in their digestion,such as reduced appetite, nausea, acid reflux or bowel changes and irritable boweltype symptoms. Some people with ME/CFS develop new sensitivities to bright lights,noise, chemicals, medications, and alcohol. Some people with ME/CFS alsoexperience pain symptoms in joints or muscles along with headaches.
When someone has this pattern of symptoms, it is important that tests are done tocheck for underlying conditions that could be causing them. For some people thatwill just be bloods tests done by their GP. For other people, it may involve referrals tohospital for specialist opinions or investigations. This means the process of making adiagnosis of ME/CFS can take some time. It can be helpful to follow the management strategies given in this guide whilewaiting for tests to be done.

(Video) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Covid19 infection (PASC)

What if I am not improving?

SEEK ADVICE: If you are experiencing ongoing fatigue symptoms following aninfection, you should ask your GP for advice so that they can check that there aren’tany other causes for the symptoms.
SPECIALIST INPUT: If you continue to experience high levels of fatigue, thenspecialist ME/CFS services or chronic fatigue services may be available to providefurther guidance. Ask your GP regarding local referral options. The BACME websitehas a map showing NHS ME/CFS services.

Acknowledgements

This guide has been compiled by
Joseph Bradley Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist, Yorkshire Fatigue Clinic
Ceri Rutter Patient/Carer Representative, Chair Plymouth and District CFS/ME Group
Dr. Vikki McKeever GP with Specialist Interest in CFS/ME, York and Leeds
Rhonda Knight Patient representative, North Bristol CFS/ME Services
Beverley Knops Specialist Occupational therapist, Vitality360
Kirsty Northcott Service Lead/Specialist CFS/ME Therapist, Torbay and South Devon
Maria Loades Clinical Psychologist & Senior Lecturer, University of Bath
Marina Townend Specialist Occupational Therapist, Worcestershire CFS/ME service
Dr Theo Anbu Consultant general paediatrician/lead for paediatric ME/CFS,
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool
Anna Gregorowski Consultant Nurse and Clinical Lead, TRACCS, UCLH

FAQs

How do you get rid of post viral fatigue? ›

If you still feel fatigued after self-isolation but overall, you're improving, keep being gentle with yourself. Slowly try a small amount of light activity that is manageable (probably less than you think) with regular rests. Be mindful that you may feel more tired the next day. Be realistic and kind to yourself.

What helps fatigue after Covid 19? ›

UC Davis Health clinical psychologists have tips for coping with COVID fatigue:
  1. Exercise to help cope with COVID-19. ...
  2. Talk about your frustrations. ...
  3. Engage in constructive thinking. ...
  4. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. ...
  5. Take it day by day or even moment by moment. ...
  6. Be compassionate with yourself. ...
  7. Find things to look forward to.

Is post viral fatigue psychological? ›

The postviral fatigue syndrome overlaps with psychiatry at a number of points. First, there is the influence that some psychological states have on physiological processes, such as immunity. Second, psychological symptoms, particularly depression but also anxiety, are a major feature of the syndrome.

Is post viral fatigue the same as me? ›

ME/CFS affects more women than men, can affect children and adults of all ages and from all social and ethnic groups. It doesn't go away with sleep or rest and affects everyday life. It can sometimes be diagnosed as post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS).

How long does it take to get over post-viral fatigue? ›

You may be starting to feel better gradually, but it can take several months and sometimes a year or more for people to feel fully recovered from post-viral fatigue. If it is gradually improving, keep going. Don't forget to keep quality REST, ROUTINE, and FUN in your life to support your recovery.

What can you take for fatigue? ›

The only pharmacy product proven safe and effective in helping fight fatigue and drowsiness is caffeine, found in such OTC products as Vivarin and NoDoz. Each caplet or tablet contains 200 mg of caffeine. Take one dose not more often than every 3 to 4 hours.

Can you get chronic fatigue after COVID? ›

Around 376,000 people in the UK report symptoms more than a year after covid-19 including extreme fatigue and other symptoms similar to post-viral fatigue syndromes and ME/CFS.

How long does the tiredness last after COVID? ›

It is normal to have fatigue after having any virus including COVID because recovering from an illness can use a lot of your energy. This normally gets better after four weeks; however some people might have fatigue for longer.

Is fatigue a symptom of long COVID? ›

The typical manifestations of long COVID include fatigue, low fitness, shortness of breath (dyspnea), and reduced cognition. Fatigue is the most reported symptom, with 41% to 60% of patients experiencing debilitating fatigue beyond six months and even up to a year.

What viruses cause extreme fatigue? ›

Fatigue can be a symptom of infections ranging from the flu to HIV.
...
Infections that may cause fatigue include:
  • Flu.
  • Mononucleosis.
  • COVID-19.
  • Cytomegalovirus.
  • Hepatitis.
  • HIV.
  • Pneumonia.
21 Apr 2021

Is post-viral syndrome a disability? ›

Background. Post-infectious fatigue syndrome (PIFS), also known as post-viral fatigue syndrome, is a complex condition resulting in physical, cognitive, emotional, neurological, vocational and/or role performance disabilities in varying degrees that changes over time.

Can a virus cause chronic fatigue? ›

Potential triggers include: Viral infections. Because some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after having a viral infection, researchers question whether some viruses might trigger the disorder. Suspicious viruses include the Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6.

How do I know if I've got chronic fatigue? ›

Symptoms of ME/CFS
  1. feeling extremely tired all the time – you may find it very hard to do daily activities.
  2. still feeling tired after resting or sleeping.
  3. taking a long time to recover after physical activity.
  4. problems sleeping, such as waking up often during the night.
  5. problems with thinking, memory and concentration.

How do you know when fatigue is serious? ›

Acute Fatigue as Urgent/Emergent

If the fatigue is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart rate, or sense of imminent passing out, these are urgent conditions that warrant immediate medical attention. These could be symptoms of a serious heart condition or major vascular insufficiency.

Can post-viral fatigue cause night sweats? ›

The core clinical symptoms are always the same: severe fatigue made worse by exercise, myalgia, night sweats, atypical depression and excessive sleep. The other common symptoms include dysequilibrium disorders and irritable bowel syndrome.

How can I get my energy back? ›

Consult a GP for advice.
  1. Eat often to beat tiredness. ...
  2. Get moving. ...
  3. Lose weight to gain energy. ...
  4. Sleep well. ...
  5. Reduce stress to boost energy. ...
  6. Talking therapy beats fatigue. ...
  7. Cut out caffeine. ...
  8. Drink less alcohol.

How do I regain energy after illness? ›

Foods that help you regain energy after an illness - YouTube

How do you beat chronic fatigue? ›

12 Diet Hacks to Reduce Chronic Fatigue
  1. Ditch inflammatory foods. ...
  2. Stay hydrated. ...
  3. Keep a food and symptom journal. ...
  4. Don't cut it all out. ...
  5. But do experiment with your diet. ...
  6. Limit your caffeine intake. ...
  7. Try smaller, more frequent meals. ...
  8. Pay attention to sugar.

What vitamin is best for fatigue? ›

The 5 Best Vitamins for Energy & Tiredness
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) ...
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) ...
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) ...
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) ...
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

What can a doctor prescribe for energy? ›

Prescription stimulants include medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®) and amphetamines (Dexedrine® and Adderall®). These medications, which are in the same class of drugs as cocaine and methamphetamine (“meth”), increase alertness, energy, and attention.

What are 3 types of fatigue? ›

There are three types of fatigue: transient, cumulative, and circadian: Transient fatigue is acute fatigue brought on by extreme sleep restriction or extended hours awake within 1 or 2 days.

How long can fatigue last? ›

For example, unusually hard physical or mental exertion for one day can result in normal fatigue that may last about a day or sometimes more, depending on the exertion level, while daily unusually hard physical or mental exertion may result in prolonged fatigue (usually greater than 24 to 48 hours).

What are some of the symptoms of the long haulers from COVID-19? ›

According to the CDC, the most common long COVID symptoms include:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness or fatigue.
  • Chest or stomach pain.
  • Joint or muscle pain.
  • Fast-beating heart (heart palpitations)
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities.
  • Pins-and-needles feeling.

What can cause tiredness and lack of energy? ›

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  • Alcohol or drug use.
  • Excess physical activity.
  • Jet lag disorder.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Medications, such as antihistamines, cough medicines.
  • Not enough sleep.
  • Unhealthy eating habits.

What is Covid fatigue feel like? ›

Physical fatigue: Feeling low in energy, your body may feel heavy and you may feel like you have lost a lot of strength. Even small tasks, like walking to the bathroom, might take up a lot of energy. Mental/cognitive fatigue: Your brain might feel foggy or cloudy, with even simple tasks exhausting or difficult.

What are the post-COVID symptoms? ›

However, there are lots of symptoms you can have after a COVID-19 infection, including:
  • problems with your memory and concentration ("brain fog")
  • chest pain or tightness.
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations.
  • dizziness.
  • pins and needles.
  • joint pain.
  • depression and anxiety.

Can COVID cause fatigue without fever? ›

Many people who are infected have more mild symptoms like a scratchy throat, stuffy or runny nose, occasional mild cough, fatigue, and no fever. Some people have no symptoms at all, but they can still spread the disease.”

What is brain fog? ›

Brain fog is characterized by confusion, forgetfulness, and a lack of focus and mental clarity. This can be caused by overworking, lack of sleep, stress, and spending too much time on the computer.

Why am I so weak after being sick? ›

Viruses cause the immune system to respond and attack them. This response causes stress and inflammation in the body. The effects of this response often leave people feeling down, fatigued, and sometimes depressed.

What blood test showed chronic fatigue syndrome? ›

Currently, there's no blood test that has been approved to help diagnose CFS. A pilot study from 2019 explored a blood test that would allow doctors to screen for certain cellular markers related to ME/CFS.

What is post-viral fatigue NHS? ›

Post-viral fatigue is when you have an extended period of feeling unwell and fatigued after a viral infection.

Can you work with chronic fatigue? ›

However, many people with mild to moderate chronic fatigue syndrome are able to work part time or even full time as they move into recovery. Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome find pacing to be a useful technique to help manage day to day activities.

Can you get a blue badge for chronic fatigue? ›

People with ME/CFS can be eligible for a Blue Badge – provided their mobility and walking problems satisfy the eligibility criteria that have been produced in relation to this scheme.

Can I claim benefits for chronic fatigue? ›

Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are able to work and have a job that is flexible and meets their needs. However, if you have CFS and are unable to work, you can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

What is the new name for fibromyalgia? ›

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

What doctor can diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome? ›

Doctors might refer patients to see a specialist, like a neurologist, rheumatologist, or a sleep specialist, to check for other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. These specialists might find other conditions that could be treated. Patients can have other conditions and still have ME/CFS.

What mimics chronic fatigue syndrome? ›

Similar Medical Conditions

A number of illnesses have been described that have a similar spectrum of symptoms to CFS. These include fibromyalgia syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, neurasthenia, multiple chemical sensitivities, and chronic mononucleosis.

Why am I always tired and have no energy female? ›

Hormonal and lifestyle differences like pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause mean that women need more iron than men in their diet, but few women actually get as much as they need. The result—anemia's—most common symptoms include fatigue and weakness. If you suspect you have anemia, talk to your physician.

What does fibro fatigue feel like? ›

Fatigue. Fibromyalgia can cause extreme tiredness (fatigue). This can range from a mild tired feeling to the exhaustion often experienced during a flu-like illness. Severe fatigue may come on suddenly and can drain you of all your energy.

What is chronic fatigue caused by? ›

It is possible that ME/CFS is caused by a change in the person's immune system and the way it responds to infection or stress. ME/CFS shares some features of autoimmune illnesses (diseases in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues in own body, like in rheumatoid arthritis).

Why do I wake up tired everyday? ›

For most people, feeling tired when you wake up is the result of sleep inertia, which is a natural feeling you experience as you transition between being asleep and awake. This feeling generally dissipates between 15 and 60 minutes after waking, but for some it can last longer.

Why is my body so exhausted? ›

Many possible factors cause chronic fatigue, such as underlying medical conditions, nutrient deficiencies, sleep disturbances, caffeine intake, and chronic stress. If you're experiencing unexplained fatigue, it's important to talk with your doctor to find the cause.

Why are night sweats a red flag? ›

Night sweats can be a manifestation of simple infection, underlying malignancy, more complex infections – including TB and HIV – connective tissue disorders, menopause or certain prescribed drugs. It's also important not to overlook possible psychological causes, such as night terrors secondary to PTSD.

Does sweating when sick mean you're getting better? ›

Fever is an important component of the body's natural healing process. When you have a fever, your body tries to cool down naturally by sweating. Does sweating mean the fever is breaking? Yes, in general, sweating is an indication that your body is slowly recovering.

Why do I wake up drenched in sweat when sick? ›

Infection

If you're sick with a viral or bacterial infection, your body raises its internal temperature to fight off the infection, which is what causes fever. This increase in body temperature can lead to sweating — and night sweats are a common symptom associated with fevers.

How long does fatigue last after cold? ›

Some people are back to normal within a month or two, while others experience lingering symptoms for years. However, there is some evidence to suggest that getting an early diagnosis may improve recovery.

How long does fatigue last after Covid? ›

Post-COVID fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of the condition and often lasts for weeks and even months after the initial infection. The condition goes well beyond simply “being tired” and can drastically impact sufferers' quality of life.

How long can fatigue last? ›

For example, unusually hard physical or mental exertion for one day can result in normal fatigue that may last about a day or sometimes more, depending on the exertion level, while daily unusually hard physical or mental exertion may result in prolonged fatigue (usually greater than 24 to 48 hours).

Can a virus cause chronic fatigue? ›

Potential triggers include: Viral infections. Because some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after having a viral infection, researchers question whether some viruses might trigger the disorder. Suspicious viruses include the Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6.

How do you know when fatigue is serious? ›

Acute Fatigue as Urgent/Emergent

If the fatigue is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart rate, or sense of imminent passing out, these are urgent conditions that warrant immediate medical attention. These could be symptoms of a serious heart condition or major vascular insufficiency.

How do I know if I've got chronic fatigue? ›

Symptoms of ME/CFS
  1. feeling extremely tired all the time – you may find it very hard to do daily activities.
  2. still feeling tired after resting or sleeping.
  3. taking a long time to recover after physical activity.
  4. problems sleeping, such as waking up often during the night.
  5. problems with thinking, memory and concentration.

How do I get my energy back after a cold? ›

The Best Ways to Bounce Back After Being Sick
  1. Take your time. Be careful not to push yourself too hard too fast. ...
  2. Turn off those screens. Phones, TVs, and tablets all emit blue light that causes strain on your eyes. ...
  3. Make a green smoothie. ...
  4. Drink hot water with True Lemon. ...
  5. Practice meditation and deep breathing.
1 Feb 2018

How do I get my strength back after being sick? ›

Once the symptoms of a cold or the flu are gone, it can still take some time to regain strength and fully recover from these energy-sapping ailments. Experts recommend getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, slowly returning to your old routines and focusing on nourishing, healthy food and drinks.

Why am I so weak after being sick? ›

Viruses cause the immune system to respond and attack them. This response causes stress and inflammation in the body. The effects of this response often leave people feeling down, fatigued, and sometimes depressed.

What is Covid fatigue feel like? ›

Physical fatigue: Feeling low in energy, your body may feel heavy and you may feel like you have lost a lot of strength. Even small tasks, like walking to the bathroom, might take up a lot of energy. Mental/cognitive fatigue: Your brain might feel foggy or cloudy, with even simple tasks exhausting or difficult.

Is exercise good for COVID? ›

It is normal to feel tired, weak or short of breath when you are recovering from COVID-19 (coronavirus). But being active can help you to recover quicker.

What are 3 types of fatigue? ›

There are three types of fatigue: transient, cumulative, and circadian: Transient fatigue is acute fatigue brought on by extreme sleep restriction or extended hours awake within 1 or 2 days.

What kind of doctor should I see for tiredness? ›

Doctors might refer patients to see a specialist, like a neurologist, rheumatologist, or a sleep specialist, to check for other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Why am I so tired and drained all the time? ›

You may be too exhausted even to manage your daily affairs. In most cases, there's a reason for the fatigue. It might be allergic rhinitis, anemia, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease (COPD), a bacterial or viral infection, or some other health condition.

Videos

1. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
(Mayo Proceedings)
2. Burn Out to Brilliance. Recovery from Chronic Fatigue | Linda Jones | TEDxBirminghamCityUniversity
(TEDx Talks)
3. Physios for ME present case study of Post Viral Fatigue / Long Covid / Chronic Covid 19
(Physios for ME)
4. Mayo Clinic doctor explains what is known about 'post-Covid syndrome'
(CNBC Television)
5. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Triggers, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
(JJ Medicine)
6. Stanford Unravels the Mysteries of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
(Stanford)

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