Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
Fatigue is a double edged sword right now. For most, COVID-19 is a short-term illness although some patients are feeling the effects of long-term symptoms such as fatigue. Additionally, health care workers throughout the country are experiencing exhaustion as a result of working long hours with very few breaks in very stressful and challenging situations.
Post-viral fatigue is different than being tired. The trigger seems to be a reaction to the virus. Symptoms are similar to what people experience with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) which is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that generally lasts for at least six months. The fatigue tends to exacerbate with physical and mental activities. No matter how much one rests, it doesn’t seem to improve.
Symptoms include sleep that isn’t refreshing, challenges with focus, concentration, short-term memory and dizziness caused by movement. The cause of CFS and the resulting fatigue is unknown and the same seems to be true for COVID-19 patients. While the root cause is unidentified, it is generally linked to the viral infection or psychological stress.
A different kind of fatigue is impacting health of essential workers throughout the country. According to Mental Health America, emotional exhaustion was the number one answer to how health care workers were feeling over a three month period (82%), followed by trouble with sleep (70%), physical exhaustion (68%) and work related dread (63%). Other symptoms included changes in appetite (57%), headaches or stomachaches (56%), and compassion fatigue (52%). Nurses were more likely to feel tired (67%) compared to other health care workers (63%).
Whether one is experiencing fatigue as a recovering COVID-19 patient or as a health care professional, it is important to recognize symptoms that may indicate a problem. While having trouble sleeping is clearly a trigger, difficulty concentrating, feeling uncertain, anxious, angry, irritated or helpless are important signs to recognize.
During winter with shorter daylight hours, intentionality in overcoming fatigue is key. It’s important to give yourself time for self-care such as meditation, listening to music that lifts your mood, journaling your feelings, a quiet environment for rest, walking, and light exercise. Health care workers that are able to sleep may need more than the typical seven to nine hours to recover.
UPATE FROM NEVADA COUNTY
Dr. Scott Kellerman, Nevada County Public Health Officer shared a frequently asked question, “Do I have to attend the same site for my second vaccine dose?” The answer is, “Yes”. After receiving your first vaccine dose, you are automatically scheduled for a second dose. The vaccine is drawn just prior to your arrival. If you don’t show up, the County has to scramble to find another suitable candidate from the waiting list. If another candidate cannot be secured, the vaccine cannot be saved and is potentially wasted. Please make every attempt to keep your second appointment and help Nevada County to efficiently immunize our community.
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