Post-Coronavirus fatigue or something more?

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Six weeks ago on March 24 I developed symptoms of Covid-19, namely raised temperature (but not fever), dry cough, upset stomach and intense fatigue. As there was no possibility of a test, I have no certainty but as a key worker out and about in the community I am pretty certain it was the Coronavirus.

I still do not feel normal. I typically feel tired, although my daily walk and other physical activity do not seem to lead to real exhaustion. I find that work-related Zoom Conferences often provoke an episode of stomach upset and nausea. I sometimes feel mildly 'fluey' , with a minimal but discernible sore throat. My muscles are twitching rather than aching (although this has been diminishing in recent days). I generally sleep through the night and my appetite is only a little diminished. But I'm not getting that morning burst of energy and am sleepy for much of the day.

When the pandemic began, the advice was that people with mild symptoms were better after 14 days. So I wonder whether this is still the recovery period nearly two months on, whether it might be Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome or the beginning of something more long-term like CFS. Should I be trying to see my GP at this stage (if he will see me) or just keep going?

To those who suffer from debilitating symptoms of CFS or ME I am sorry if this seems very minimal by comparison. I don't wish to diminish the seriousness of these illnesses. But I also read that early diagnosis is important. Thanks for reading this!

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Personally, i describe ME as how you feel after a cold or flu and viral onset appears to be the most common trigger.

    You should get an antibody test, don't be sure you have it.

    Recovery in any case is the same, dont push yourself too hard and dont freak yourself out The symptom i use to monitor is post exercise malaise, how you feel the day after pretty much any kind of exertion, including mental and emotional

    I have had good luck with a diet high in organic produce and healthy oils

    The biggest thing that sets me back niw is the seasonal cold or flu Getting enough sun as you recover helps.

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  • Posted

    Well, with me (and I hear it was the same with many others) you have to have the symptoms for a good 6 months before they diagnose CFS. At first they didn't do much except a complete blood count which came out pretty much normal and they said I was "depressed." After 6 months went by at that point they tested me for "anything and everything" and they found epstein barr virus and diagnosed me CFS. You might just be still recovering but either way, I would be very careful not to push yourself.

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  • Posted

    Hi Nigel

    Sorry to hear you're feeling so unwell.

    The short answer to your question is that at this stage it is very unlikely you have developed cfs/me.

    Now for the longer answer lol

    A virus is one of the most common triggers for cfs/me - so you are right to be concerned. However given that it has 'only' been a couple of months since you were unwell it is far more likely that what you're experiencing is some nasty, lingering effects of the virus and nothing more sinister than that.

    I believe the NHS states you must have had these symptoms on most days for several months before you will get a diagnosis - and bear in mind a diagnosis is simply a ruling out of all other causes. There is no definitive test.

    One positive is no post exertion fatigue. PEF is a massive indicator of ME. How do you feel when you wake? You mention you have no 'burst' of energy but do you feel refreshed? Or do you feel as exhausted as when you got into bed? Do you have pain in your joints or muscles? Do you have difficulty concentrating or 'lose' words you were about to say - even when there is nothing else distracting you?

    I would imagine a doctor right now would put your symptoms down to the after effects of the virus - especially if they're reducing slightly daily. But if you are worried then of course you should speak to him/her.

    One last thing to put your mind at rest (sort of). Early detection/diagnosis is not necessary as unfortunately there is no cure for this dreaded condition. So if you decide to give it a few weeks to see if you improve you will not hurt yourself in the long run.

    Best wishes


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  • Posted

    As the covid-19 virus is unknown its not certain if theres is a post viral response like cfs. If the symptoms persist and tiredness is prevalent with a fluey hangover feeling with a post exertion malaise you likely have post viral fatigue. After 6 months its refered to as CFS. Build in as much rest as possible and only exercise within yourself. if you feel like you are pushing through you will suffer afterwards, days afterwards.

    it will take a while to recover but you will in the end.

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  • Posted

    I will agree with the others that it is too early to talk about ME or post viral syndrome. But the possibility is there. In Denmark they have started to notice that many people have symptoms long after the onset of COVID 19, and they have started to research it why this might be. I doubt you would get much out of seeing a GP, I do not know where you are, but here in Britain it is about 50-50 whether you get one who just rolls her eyes, or someone who is aware that this condition exists.

    Anyway, they even those who might be able to diagnose it cannot do so this early.

    I think the best you can do is to take is seriously, that is, rest as much as you can, give it time, see what happens. The reason it is good to know in its early stages is that you can start to pace yourself, rest BEFORE you get tired, do not tire yourself out. You can do this right now, and whether this is aftermath of a virus of the start of ME, the best you can to is pace yourself, and eat as healthily as you can. Good luck!

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