Blog Post


Amy Zellmer Oct. 5, 2021

In the age of COVID-19, a symptom that comes along with having contracted the virus, is brain fog. This symptom of COVID-19, is comparable to the cognitive issues that traumatic brain survivors experience after their initial concussion. Brain fog, which is not a medical term but a description, can have a dramatic effect on brain injury survivors, no matter how sharp or quick-witted the person was prior.

Symptoms of brain fog occur within the first seven to ten days and will dissipate within three months. Sometimes brain fog can persist for a year or more. To achieve a quicker recovery from brain fog it is recommended by doctors to treat right away after your concussion in order to manage it. Like TBI survivors, people that are recovering from COVID-19, struggling with brain fog on a daily basis could last up to weeks, or even years.

Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms examined in TBI patients. Signs to look out for include “slowness in thinking,” “trouble concentrating”, or even “difficulty remembering and learning new information”. Short term memory loss and inability to concentrate, multitasking and the ability to organize and plan coincide with brain fog.

Patients with a TBI typically experience brain fog either immediately post-concussion, it could occur days, weeks, or months later. The common triggers for brain fog can vary from using a computer, reading a book, or bright lights. Patients have described brain fog as “I feel like I’m seeing the world through a haze.” “I feel like I’m running in sand” “I just can’t keep up” or “I can’t process everything.”

The brain fog stems from the impact that causes the brain to smash into the skull which leads to inflammation and disruption of communication within the brain. Two main sources of brain fog are called hypoactivation (inefficiency in the brain) and hyperactivation (overload). Oxygen and other resources are needed for the brain to complete a task. When inflammation after a concussion occurs and axonal shearing, this can block off regions of the brain from getting their needed resources. This is the hypoactivation happening. Hyperactivation is what’s considering an overload, when an area of the brain is on too much or working too hard. In short, if there are areas of your brain working inefficiently or overworking, a lot of energy is being used. With all of this energy being used this can cause the brain to just simply give up – resulting in what is called brain fog.

Now there are ways to heal and get rid of brain fog to live a normal day to day life. It is highly recommended to give your digestive system a rest. Intermittent fasting can stimulate brain regeneration. Exercise is good for sharper mental acuity as it promotes the release of helpful chemical messengers as well as releasing endorphins to rejuvenate the brain. Not to mention, that sleep is important to heal. Sleep is essential to recovering from brain fog especially with the persistent fatigue and exhaustion. Overall, a TBI survivor needs to have patience with themselves to lower their stress and eventually that brain fog will subside.