Is dizziness a symptom of COVID-19? Our understanding of the COVID-19 virus continues to expand, and beyond the well-documented respiratory symptoms, an array of less common symptoms has emerged. One such symptom is dizziness. While COVID-19 was initially characterized primarily by fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, it has become increasingly evident that this virus can affect the body in a multitude of ways. In this article, we examine dizziness as a symptom of COVID-19 and explore its potential causes and how individuals can recognize and address this unsettling sensation.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person, but some of the most frequently reported symptoms include:
- Fever or Chills
- Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
- Muscle or Body Aches
- Loss of Taste or Smell
- Sore Throat
- Congestion or Runny Nose
- Nausea or Vomiting
Is Dizziness a Symptom of COVID-19?
While it may not be common, symptoms of COVID-19 can include dizziness. It’s important to note that not everyone with COVID-19 will experience dizziness, and dizziness alone is not necessarily indicative of COVID-19. However, if you or someone you know experiences dizziness along with other COVID-19 symptoms or in the context of potential exposure to the virus, it’s advisable to seek medical advice and consider getting tested for COVID-19.
Causes of Dizziness
Dizziness can have various causes, and the symptoms may vary depending on the underlying issue. Here are some common causes and associated symptoms of dizziness:
- Inner ear disorders and some bacterial or viral infections can cause sudden, intense episodes of dizziness, along with nausea, vomiting, and difficulty with balance.
- Orthostatic Hypotension can cause dizziness or lightheadedness upon standing up from a sitting or lying position due to altered blood flow resulting from improper heart or blood vessel function.
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) can cause dizziness by inducing an excessive and abnormal increase in one’s heart rate upon standing, leading to reduced blood flow to the brain.
- Being dehydrated can contribute to feeling lightheaded or dizzy, particularly when standing.
- Anemia can lead to dizziness, fatigue, weakness, and pale skin.
- Some medications, especially those that lower blood pressure or affect the central nervous system, can cause dizziness as a side effect.
- Anxiety and stress often result in dizziness or lightheadedness, rapid heart rate, and shallow breathing.
- Some individuals experience vestibular migraines, characterized by dizziness, headaches, nausea, and visual disturbances.
- Neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) or stroke can cause dizziness, often with other neurological symptoms.
- Motion sickness can cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
- Post-COVID syndrome, also called “long COVID,” can sometimes manifest symptoms including dizziness, brain fog, muscle and joint pain, and more after the initial illness.
Dizziness vs. Vertigo
Dizziness and vertigo are related but distinctly different sensations related to a person’s sense of balance and orientation. Here’s the key difference between the two:
- Dizziness is a broad term that encompasses various sensations of unsteadiness or altered spatial perception.
- It can refer to feelings of lightheadedness, faintness, unsteadiness, or a general sense of being off-balance.
- Dizziness can have multiple causes, including dehydration, low blood pressure, anemia, ear infections, and side effects of certain medications.
- Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness characterized by a spinning or rotating sensation as if the person or their surroundings are moving or spinning when they are not.
- Vertigo is typically caused by issues within the inner ear or the vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance.
- Common causes of vertigo include Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, and labyrinthitis.
In summary, while dizziness is a general term used to describe various sensations of unsteadiness, vertigo is a specific type of dizziness characterized by a spinning sensation. Vertigo often indicates a problem within the inner ear or the vestibular system, whereas dizziness can have a wider range of potential causes, including issues outside the vestibular system. Proper diagnosis by a healthcare professional is essential to determine the underlying cause of these symptoms and guide appropriate treatment.
How to Treat Dizziness
The treatment of dizziness depends on the underlying cause of the symptom. Dizziness can be caused by various factors, including inner ear problems, dehydration, low blood pressure, anxiety, COVID-19 and more. Here are some general guidelines for treating dizziness:
- Determine the underlying cause. If your dizziness persists or is severe, it’s important to identify the root issue.
- Dehydration can lead to dizziness, so ensure you drink enough fluids throughout the day.
- Medications may be prescribed to treat the underlying cause of dizziness. For example, if your dizziness is related to an inner ear infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. If dizziness is a side effect of your medication, consult your healthcare provider to discuss potential alternatives.
- For certain types of dizziness, specific exercises and maneuvers can be helpful in repositioning inner ear crystals and alleviating symptoms.
- If your dizziness is related to low blood sugar or blood pressure, maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding triggers like caffeine and alcohol can be helpful.
- If anxiety or stress is contributing to your dizziness, techniques like relaxation exercises, mindfulness, or therapy may be beneficial.
- In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to improve balance and reduce dizziness, particularly if it’s related to issues with the vestibular system.
- To prevent injuries from falls during episodes of dizziness, make sure your home is free from tripping hazards and consider using assistive devices like handrails and walking aids.
- Always follow the guidance and treatment recommendations provided by your healthcare provider.
Altus Lumberton Hospital Can Help
While dizziness can often be a benign and temporary sensation, it can also be a sign of COVID-19 or other underlying medical conditions that require prompt attention. If you experience persistent or severe dizziness, especially if it’s accompanied by concerning symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, severe headache, or confusion, it is crucial to seek professional medical help immediately. Timely evaluation and diagnosis can make all the difference in effectively addressing the root cause of dizziness and finding appropriate treatment.
At Altus Lumberton Hospital, we understand the importance of your well-being and provide comprehensive care for a wide range of medical conditions, including dizziness and COVID-19-related concerns. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals is here to offer expert guidance and personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific needs. Visit our website to learn more about our services.