Skip to content

Sure Signs You Have Brain Fog, Say Experts

The coronavirus isn't the only cause.

Brain fog isn't an official medical condition, but in the past 18 months, it's become a well-known term. It's a common symptom of "long COVID," a mysterious and often debilitating syndrome that can follow a case of COVID-19. The coronavirus isn't the only cause of brain fog—it's been associated with anxiety, depression, menopause, and other health conditions—but the common signs are frequently the same. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Difficulty Concentrating

Woman is stressed tired and cant focus on her work

Typical symptoms of post-COVID brain fog include problems with attention, said Dr. Alexander Merkler, an assistant attending neurologist at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Some people with brain fog report not being able to focus on work or simple tasks. 

RELATED: Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID, Says Mayo Clinic


Slowed Thinking

Girl with thinking expression trying to remember something at the cafe

Brain fog may feel more like mind sludge. "Many people who recover from mild or moderate COVID-19 notice slowed thinking," said Dr. William T. Hu, associate professor and chief of cognitive neurology at Rutgers Medical School, who is leading a study on post-COVID brain fog. 

RELATED: This One Thing Could Predict if You'll Get Diabetes, Says Study


Memory Loss

Memory Disorder

"The vaccine may have helped somewhat with the brain fog, but what I see from a clinical standpoint is much more persistent short-term memory loss," said Dr. Sabiha Hussain, associate professor of medicine at Rutgers Medical School. "My memory is really bad," one 28-year-old told Medium, likening her post-COVID symptoms to a bad concussion. "For a while, I couldn't think of really basic words or definitions. I went weeks without talking to anybody because it was too much work." 

RELATED: Everyday Habits That Cause Obesity, Says Science


Difficulty Finding The Right Words

Close-up portrait of charming old lady, covering her mouth with hands

In addition to problems with concentration and short-term memory, people with post-COVID brain fog might have trouble with word-finding, Matthew Schindler, a neurologist with Penn Medicine's program for people with long COVID, told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. "Deficits in these areas can be frustrating," he said.

RELATED: Things That Age You Faster, Says Science


Trouble Multitasking

Depressed business woman

Feeling overwhelmed by simple tasks is another common symptom of brain fog, said Merkler. "The good news is there's no evidence that this mental fog is permanent, so we can be cautiously optimistic in the hopes that it will resolve and you would go back to normal," he added, advising that people with post-COVID brain fog pursue a healthy lifestyle, slowly resume their daily routines, get regular exercise and keep their minds busy. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael