Feeling Off-Balance? COVID-19 and Dizziness Explained

COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is primarily known for respiratory symptoms like cough, fever, and shortness of breath. But the virus can wreak havoc on other parts of the body too, including the nervous system. Dizziness, a feeling of lightheadedness or unsteadiness, is a common symptom reported by COVID-19 patients, and it can be quite disorienting. This article delves into everything you need to know about COVID-19 dizziness, including its causes, duration, and management strategies.

Is Dizziness a Common Symptom of COVID-19?

Yes, dizziness is a recognized symptom of COVID-19, affecting an estimated 25% of infected individuals. It can manifest in several ways:

  • Lightheadedness: This is a general feeling of wooziness or faintness, often accompanied by a sense of weakness.
  • Disequilibrium: You might feel unsteady on your feet or like you’re about to tip over.
  • Vertigo: This is a spinning sensation, where it feels like either you or your surroundings are rotating.

Dizziness can occur at various stages of COVID-19:

  • Early Symptom: It can be one of the first signs of infection, appearing alongside fever, cough, and fatigue.
  • During Recovery: Some people experience dizziness as they recover from the initial illness.
  • Long COVID: Dizziness is a frequent complaint among individuals with long COVID, a condition where symptoms persist for weeks or months after the initial infection.

Why Does COVID-19 Cause Dizziness?

The exact mechanism behind COVID-19 dizziness remains under investigation, but researchers have proposed several potential explanations:

  • Inflammation: The body’s inflammatory response to the virus can affect the inner ear, which plays a crucial role in balance.
  • Neurological Effects: COVID-19 can potentially damage the nervous system, leading to issues with balance and coordination. This could be a result of the virus directly infecting nerve tissue or from the inflammatory response.
  • Dehydration: COVID-19 can cause fever, diarrhea, and vomiting, leading to dehydration. Dehydration itself can contribute to dizziness.
  • Underlying Conditions: Dizziness can be a symptom of pre-existing conditions like low blood pressure or anaemia. COVID-19 infection can worsen these conditions, leading to increased dizziness.

How Long Does COVID-19 Dizziness Last?

The duration of COVID-19 dizziness varies greatly depending on the individual and the severity of the infection.

  • In most cases: Dizziness associated with the initial illness usually resolves within a few days to a week as the body fights off the virus.
  • For some: Dizziness might linger for several weeks during the recovery phase.
  • In long COVID: Dizziness can be a persistent symptom, lasting for months or even years.

If your dizziness is severe, worsens over time, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like fainting, blurred vision, or weakness in your limbs, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention.

When Should You See a Doctor for COVID-19 Dizziness?

While dizziness caused by COVID-19 often resolves on its own, there are situations where seeking medical advice is essential:

  • Severity: If the dizziness is severe or interferes with your daily activities, consult a doctor.
  • Prolonged Dizziness: Dizziness lasting longer than a few weeks after the initial infection warrants medical evaluation.
  • Worsening Symptoms: If your dizziness gets progressively worse or is accompanied by new symptoms like fainting, blurred vision, or weakness, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Underlying Conditions: If you have pre-existing health conditions that can cause dizziness, like low blood pressure or inner ear problems, getting checked by a doctor after experiencing COVID-19 dizziness is advisable.

Early diagnosis and management of underlying conditions can help prevent further complications.

Management Strategies for COVID-19 Dizziness

While there’s no specific cure for COVID-19 dizziness, several strategies can help manage it:

  • Rest: Getting adequate sleep and allowing your body to recover from the infection is crucial.
  • Hydration: Dehydration can worsen dizziness. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • Balance Exercises: Specific exercises can help improve balance and reduce dizziness. A physical therapist can recommend suitable exercises based on your needs.
  • Medications: In some cases, your doctor might prescribe medications like antihistamines or vestibular suppressants to manage severe dizziness.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Avoiding triggers like sudden changes in position, alcohol, and caffeine can help reduce dizziness episodes.

Remember, these are general recommendations. Always consult your doctor for personalized advice on managing COVID-19 dizziness.


Q. What is COVID-19 dizziness?

COVID dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or a spinning sensation (vertigo) that can occur as a symptom of COVID-19 infection. It affects about one-fourth of people with COVID-19 and can happen during the initial stages of the illness or persist as part of long COVID-19.

Q. Is dizziness a common symptom of COVID?

Dizziness is not as common as respiratory symptoms like cough or fever, but it’s a recognized symptom affecting a significant portion of COVID-19 patients.

Q. Can dizziness be the only symptom of COVID?

Yes, dizziness can be the only symptom of COVID-19, especially in the early stages. This is why it’s important to be aware of all potential symptoms.

Q.What causes dizziness with COVID?

The exact reasons are still under investigation, but researchers believe it could be due to:

  • Inflammation: The body’s inflammatory response to the virus can affect the nervous system.
  • Inner ear problems: COVID-19 may impact the inner ear, which plays a role in balance.
  • Effects on blood pressure: Dehydration or low blood pressure due to COVID can also lead to dizziness.

Q. How long does COVID dizziness last?

In most cases, COVID dizziness resolves within a few days to weeks as the body recovers. However, in some cases, it can persist as a long-haul COVID symptom.

Q.What should I do if I experience dizziness with COVID?

If you have dizziness along with other COVID symptoms, get tested and isolate yourself to prevent spreading the virus. Here are some tips to manage dizziness:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, which can worsen dizziness.
  • Rest: Get enough sleep and avoid strenuous activities.
  • Sit or lie down: If you feel dizzy, sit or lie down immediately in a safe place until the feeling passes.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Consider over-the-counter medications like dimenhydrinate or meclizine to help with dizziness, but consult a doctor first.

Q. When to see a doctor about COVID dizziness?

See a doctor if:

  • Your dizziness is severe or persistent.
  • You have other concerning symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
  • You have concerns about falling due to dizziness.

Q. How can I prevent COVID dizziness?

The best way to prevent COVID dizziness is to prevent COVID infection itself. This includes:

  • Getting vaccinated and boosted.
  • Wearing masks indoors and around crowds.
  • Practicing good hand hygiene.
  • Maintaining social distancing.

Q. Are there any additional resources for information on COVID dizziness?

Here are some credible sources for further information:

  • Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
  • World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): https://www.nih.gov/

Remember, this information is intended for general knowledge and should not be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor with any health concerns.

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