Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team
- COVID-19 dizziness may come in the form of vertigo, lightheadedness, or feeling off-balanced.
- Dizziness often starts in the early stages of COVID-19 but can also be a symptom of long COVID.
- COVID-19 dizziness usually goes away on its own.
- There are several helpful tips and exercises that you can use to reduce the impact of dizziness on your life.
COVID-19 dizziness is a symptom that quite some people experience due to an infection with the coronavirus. In this article, we’ll guide you through the possible ways you can experience this dizziness, its mechanisms, how long it usually takes, and what you can do about it.
What is COVID-19 dizziness?
- COVID vertigo: a feeling like you’re spinning around or moving even though you’re standing still. Vertigo caused by COVID-19 happens when the coronavirus affects the vestibular system within your inner ear. This system is important for your balance, as it detects motion and position.3
If the coronavirus has affected the vestibular system, you may feel dizziness when you move your head, see a lot of movement in front of your eyes, or change positions quickly. COVID vertigo may accompany headaches, tinnitus (a ringing sensation in the ears), reduced hearing, and eye strain.
- COVID lightheadedness: a feeling as if you’re about to faint.
- A feeling like you’re off-balanced, as if you may fall at any time.
Various theories link COVID-19 and dizziness. Some reasons why the coronavirus may cause dizziness are:4
- A cytokine storm: When the coronavirus enters the body, the immune system may produce an excessive amount of cytokines, which are proteins that help control the level of inflammation in your body. In normal situations, these cytokines help the body defend itself against viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. When an excessive amount of cytokines is present in the body, this can cause a high amount of inflammation in different parts of the body. This situation is referred to as a cytokine storm and can also affect the vestibular system.5
- The affinity for ACE 2 receptors: The coronavirus has an affinity to bind to a certain type of receptor in the body, called ACE 2 receptors. These receptors can be found in various tissues throughout the body, although some body parts contain more of these receptors. The central nervous system is one of the places where the coronavirus can enter through these ACE 2 receptors. After binding to these receptors, the virus can gain access to these tissues and cause inflammation. This causes symptoms such as dizziness.6
Is dizziness a symptom of COVID-19?
Dizziness is a possible symptom of COVID-19 which may occur during the infection or afterward. However, it’s crucial to consider all your symptoms, as dizziness is a common symptom that may also be caused by other conditions. Some other common causes of dizziness are:7
- Ear conditions such as Menière’s disease or labyrinthitis
- Eye disease
- Stress or anxiety
- Heart conditions and blood pressure issues
- Low blood sugar
- Motion or travel sickness
- Brain and nerve-related disorders
- The consumption of alcohol
- Certain medications
If you’re worried about your health or if the dizziness continues, you should visit your physician to know what is causing your symptoms.
If you think your dizziness is due to an infection with the coronavirus, then it’s recommended to get tested for COVID-19 using a PCR or antigen test. Both require a swab from the back of the throat or the nose, which can then be analyzed.8
How long does dizziness last with COVID-19?
COVID-19 dizziness can be one of the early symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus and may last for a few days to several weeks. In some cases, the dizziness can linger on after the original infection with the coronavirus. This situation is called long COVID, in which symptoms can last for weeks to months. If you think you might have long COVID, then it’s essential to contact your physician for follow-up and treatment. 1
How to treat dizziness after COVID-19?
There are several ways to get rid of COVID-19 dizziness. Most people can manage their symptoms, although some need professional guidance. You can try the following things to improve your dizziness: 1
- Avoid moving quickly from lying to standing, as standing up after lying down can trigger your dizziness. To improve this, you can try sitting on the edge of the bed for a few minutes. This way, your dizziness can pass before you stand up.
- Aim to move normally. Moving around like you usually would is vital to restoring balance and reducing dizziness.
- Lie down with your legs up if you feel like you’ll faint.
- Find ways to reduce stress, as this can worsen dizziness symptoms.
- Eat and drink regularly to avoid dehydration. Also, limit your intake of alcohol, coffee, and tea, as these drinks may lower your blood pressure, which can result in an increased sensation of dizziness.
- Ask your physician for exercises that help with vertigo. These may help speed up your recovery.
If you have COVID-19 dizziness, it’s essential to know that it’s normal to experience mild dizziness. This sensation should stop within 1 to 2 minutes of being still.
When should you seek help for your COVID-19 dizziness?
COVID-19 dizziness should be checked by your physician if: 1
- Your symptoms worsen
- Your dizziness doesn’t go away
- You have fallen or fainted without an apparent reason
- You hear less or continuously hear a ringing noise
You should seek urgent help if you experience: 1
- Chest pain
- Palpitations (a fluttering, pounding feeling in your chest)
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
- Weakness in your face, arm, or leg
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
- A sudden, complete loss of hearing
COVID-19 dizziness can come in many forms, such as vertigo, lightheadedness, or feeling unbalanced. Although this symptom can impact your daily life, it’s usually harmless and decreases over time. Meanwhile, you can reduce the impact of dizziness on your everyday life by following the tips in this article. If your symptoms worsen or worry you, it’s crucial to visit your physician.
Q: How to get rid of dizziness from COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 dizziness usually goes away on its own. Making sure you’re well-hydrated and doing exercises that help with your recovery is important. It’s also vital to move normally, although it’s advised to avoid moving too quickly, especially from lying to standing.
Q: How long does COVID-19 dizziness last?
A: The duration of COVID-19 dizziness is different for each case. Usually, getting rid of your COVID-19 dizziness takes a few days to a few weeks. If your dizziness takes longer, you should contact your physician as you may have long COVID.
Q: Will COVID-19 dizziness go away?
A: In most cases, dizziness caused by COVID-19 will go away in a few days to a few weeks. If it does last longer, then it’s recommended to ask your physician for advice.
Q: Is dizziness a symptom of COVID-19?
A: Dizziness may be one of the early symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus. It’s also a frequent symptom of long COVID.