PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – More and more COVID-19 patients are finding the recovery is not often quick or even complete.
One of the big issues emerging are headaches, often lasting weeks or even months and it’s a condition that can impact children as well as adults.READ MORE: Klavon's Plans To Expand To Cleveland, Serving Up Free Ice Cream Scoops For 1 Day To Celebrate
“Headache, tends to be one of the most common long-term complications that we see after COVID,” says Dr. Emad Estamalik, a headache specialist with The Cleveland Clinic.
Migraine sufferers in particular are finding pre-COVID headaches pale in comparison to their aftermath cousins.
“They have a high frequency or an increased amount of migraines and headaches, following their COVID illness and this persists for several weeks or several months,” Dr. Estamalik says.
Dr. Estamalik says there are patients who never had migraines but do after COVID.
In the worst-case scenario, some find the headaches unrelenting.
“It’s a 24-7 unremitting continuous headache with episodic spikes,” he explains.
The longer the headache persists Dr. Estamalik says, “there may be some loss of brain tissue.”
Often the post-COVID patients are reporting more than just a headache.READ MORE: Columbus, Ohio Tallies Record Number Of Homicides For Second Straight Year
“I hear a lot of patients, you know, also talk about you know ongoing fatigue, mood changes depression, and anxiety following such an illness,” he says. “So again, it’s a constellation of symptoms as we say.”
While headaches are been a strong indicator of COVID from the beginning Dr. Estamalik cautions, “So you have an overlap so any respiratory symptoms can overlap with allergy symptoms, and both can have headaches associated as well. The first word is always when in doubt get tested.”
The test will help you react sooner to COVID, or it may point you in a different direction.
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“You know some of the allergy symptoms can have are similar symptoms but typically, but you’re not going to lose smell and taste with what you know with allergy,” he says. “So if you have a headache, alone in absence of any other symptoms. It’s probably unlikely it is COVID.”
And whether it’s COVID or allergies Dr. Estamalik cautions about over-the-counter remedies.
“Be careful not to over-utilize or to take too much of over-the-counter painkillers, just because of the effect we sometimes see with these meds and causing what we call rebound or medication overuse headache,” Dr. Estamalik says.
Treating the headaches is a delicate balance of medications that will not aggravate other conditions.MORE NEWS: Local Businesses Hope Small Business Saturday Will Help Recovery From Pandemic Losses
He says other remedies are also helpful like lifestyle and psychological counseling to reduce other things that can cause headaches, or make them worse.