Home » What Does a Covid Headache Feel Like? Symptoms Explained

What Does a Covid Headache Feel Like? Symptoms Explained

Ever since its outbreak in 2019, SARS-CoV-2, more commonly known as COVID-19, has been in the spotlight due to its high death toll.

With all the lockdowns and travel restrictions, the world has completely changed. Despite the availability of vaccines, the number of cases is still on the rise.

That is because of the many variants that keep on emerging. It is prudent to remain very careful about your health during this time.

To know the presenting symptoms of COVID-19 is the safest thing for people everywhere.

This awareness will reduce the number of cases and perhaps even lessen the load on the healthcare provider that has to deal with the infected in such large numbers. 

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include the following:

1. Loss of taste

2. Loss of smell

3. Dry cough

4. Runny nose 

5. Fever

Can COVID-19 Cause Headaches?

Although it is not believed to be a common type of symptom of the corona, research has suggested that around 70% of all adult patients have complained of having headaches.

The ache ranges from a mild to a severe headache. 

Can COVID-19 Cause Headaches?

Is a Headache a Symptom of COVID-19?

Since a headache is a very vague symptom, it cannot be used to diagnose a patient with corona.

It is important to remember that people who have headaches aren’t always infected with the coronavirus.

The best tool for a diagnosis is a PCR test (blood tests) along with the appropriate signs and symptoms.

Until your PCR result comes out to be negative, it is your civic duty to remain in isolation to prevent the spread of such a deadly virus. 

What Does a COVID Headache Feel Like?

There are more than 150 different kinds of headaches.

Tension-type headaches, aches due to raised blood pressure, muscle tension, sinus infection; all these things can cause a headache.

There are a few tell-tale indicators of a COVID headache. They include the following:

1. Bilateral pain (a headache that isn’t isolated to just one side of your head)

2. Little to no relief despite taking over the counter medicine (painkillers)

3. Lasts for more than 3 days

4. The sensation feels like a pressing or stabbing

5. Ranges from moderate to severe pain

Who is More Likely To Headaches With COVID-19?

Even though the pandemic is relatively new, there are a few things that have been established due to researches conducted in various countries all around the world. 

1. People with a history of migraine headaches are more prone to COVID headaches.

2. People who experience tension headaches feel COVID headaches more frequently than those who do not

3. Males have this complaint more than females

4. People with gastro problems will complain of headaches more frequently

How Common is a Headache In COVID-19?

According to the ZOE COVID study, it is a pretty common find in patients that have been diagnosed with COVID.

Up to 7 adults out of ten have presented to their doctors with headaches. The number is a little lower in children; only 6 out of 10.

According to the same research, 15% of the confirmed cases only had headaches as their symptom; no runny noses or dry coughs were reported. 

How Common Is a Headache In COVID-19?

It is more common in males. 

People who experience anosmia (loss of smell) will also have more frequent headaches.

Anyone with a history of migraines or cluster headaches will experience headaches when compared to those who do not have migraine headaches. 

The type of headache depends from person to person, but it does indicate infection.

If you have had gastrointestinal issues in the past, such as acidity, the chances are that you will experience a headache because of the coronavirus. 

What is The Connection Between COVID-19 And Headaches?

The organism that causes COVID is a virus, just like the organism that causes the flu (influenza virus). When the body detects a foreign substance, an immune response is activated.

This response fights off the substance while forming cytokines that initiate the response itself. That leads to fever, fatigue, and inflammation. The immune response is believed to cause headaches. 

Going by that, there can be two reasons for the headache.

1. The virus directly attacks the central nervous system. That may help explain why some people experience headaches before the other symptoms are seen.

It may also explain why 15% of all coronavirus patients felt just the headache as a symptom and nothing else.

2. The feeling of being sick causes headaches. Because most illnesses have a similar effect on the body, this is a very plausible reason. 

Whatever the reason may be, it is safe to assume that headaches are connected to COVID-19.

Headaches After Recovery

People have been complaining of daily headaches even after they have recovered from COVID.

It may seem surprising, but it is one of the main complaints of previous COVID patients. The acute headaches usually stay 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months at a time.

People who have chronic migraines will experience a full-blown migraine instead of a simple headache.

Other Neurological Complications Of COVID-19

The virus causes complications in your central nervous system, which consists of the nerves, brain, and spinal cord.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, some of the neurological symptoms include:

1. Tiredness 

2. Pain in muscles, joints, and chest

3. fever and chills

4. loss of taste and smell

5. anxiety, depression, and stress

Again, the type of headache varies from person to person. Your healthcare provider will guide you better about what you can do to manage your symptoms.

Medical attention at the right time can easily make the pain bearable and even manageable!

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How to Treat COVID Headache?

It does not matter about the types of headaches you may be experiencing; this section will help you manage the throbbing pain.

These treatment options have been tried and tested by many doctors and physicians around the world. The physician often prescribes a treatment plan according to these guidelines. 

We can divide the management into 2 parts, medication and self-help/minor lifestyle alterations. 

How to Treat COVID Headache?

Your healthcare provider will suggest you do the following:-

1. Prescription pain medicines

2. Steroid injections (ONLY USE STEROIDS IF YOUR DOCTOR HAS PRESCRIBED IT TO YOU. DO NOT SELF MEDICATE.)

3. Botox injections 

4. Therapy (to deal with the anxiety, stress, and depression)

5. COVID-19 vaccination ensures patient safety even if they do get infected 

For a route that does not involve medication, you can do the following:

1. Cold compress the area that is in pain. Using a heating pad may also help

2. tie a cloth around your head very tightly.

3. Breathing exercises (such as deep breathing and yoga)

4. A moderate amount of regular exercise and physical activity 

5. Find a place where you can relax and spend some time there

6. Drink plenty of water

7. A massage will do wonders for your stiff neck

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When to Contact a Doctor For COVID-19 symptoms?

According to the CDC, there are a few symptoms that you need to look out for.

If you or a loved one experiences even one of these symptoms, you have to rush them to receive emergency care.

1. Double vision 

2. Difficulty breathing 

3. Difficulty staying awake or waking up entirely

4. Bluish skin

5. Reduced oxygen saturation (an oximeter will help in keeping track of the oxygen saturation)

6. Confusion

7. Pressure in the chest

If any one of these symptoms is seen, do not delay going to the hospital. COVID-19 is a lethal viral infection.

People have does, and they continue to die due to coronavirus, and it must be taken seriously. 

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Headaches After COVID Vaccine

Ever since the COVID-19 vaccine was released into the world, many pharmaceutical companies have developed their own.

Many people who have received the said COVID-19 vaccine have complained of headaches.

That is because the vaccine makes the body think that it has been infected with the virus, resulting in an immune response.

Even though the vaccine does not contain a live virus, the body assumes that it does and prepares itself to fight it. 

Simple over-the-counter pain relievers will help get rid of head pain. These pain medicines do not need a prescription and can be purchased at any drug store. 

There have been findings of blood clots, but they are pretty rare. Given that they are rare, it will be prudent to get imaging tests done to rule out any chances of CVT (central venous thrombosis) if the pain is extremely unbearable.

How Long Will My Headache Last?

There are different kinds of headaches. They range from mild to moderate to severe.

Some are tension-type headaches, while others can either be an example of a cluster headache or a migraine headache.

If your headache is related to COVID-19, it should last from three to five days at the beginning of the viral infection.

If you have a history of recurrent headaches, the severity of the pain will be extreme, but again, it should last between three to five days.

If you have had migraine pain, the chances of a post-COVID headache are very high. People with migraine issues tend to have a more frequent complaint of having a migraine attack post-COVID.

Migraine symptoms are more severe, and the triggers are easily irritated. For this, you may have to consult a headache specialist to receive the best possible treatment out there. 

Post-COVID headaches usually last from four weeks to three months. Again, prescription analgesics are better for managing your pain.

If you experience light sensitivity, it is a sign of migraine. Bright lights also bother the patient experiencing this. 

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What Can I Do For My Headaches?

1. Stay away from bright lights. That may help decrease your sensitivity to light

2. Try over-the-counter analgesics such as Tylenol

3. Start eating right and drink plenty of fluids

4. Try tying a cloth around your head tightly 

5. Regular exercise and physical activity 

What Can I Do For My Headaches?

6. If nothing else helps, turn to medical care. Jot down your common symptoms before you go to the doctor. Tell them your medical condition as accurately as you can.

That will help in the diagnosis of your condition sooner rather than later. Since there are many different types of headaches, the more accurate your telling is, the easier it is for the doctor. 

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Final Words About ” What Does a Covid Headache Feel Like?”

As we look around, it seems like COVID-19 is here to stay, at least for a little while longer. The best thing to do is be vigilant.

If you follow all the standard operating procedures, wear a mask, keep a social distance of 6 feet, and wash your hands regularly, you may help slow it down. You have to do as much as you can.

The best thing is to look out for the symptoms and contact your doctor immediately. If you feel like something does not feel right, get tested.

Many laboratories have introduced home services, making it easier for everyone to get tested. Be vigilant, and more importantly, be safe!

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