Recovering COVID-19 patients may feel a bizarre ‘fizzing’ sensation — Why it’s not cause for concern

Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic researchers observed that case severity varied drastically across demographics. 

While key behavioral,environmental and physiological factors have since been linked to critical and fatal forms of the disease the jury is still out on accompanying symptoms. 

Those who experience symptoms at all almost uniformly occasion a high fever, a dry cough and fatigue. However, both mild and severe cases have sometimes been preceded by the loss of taste and smell, hallucinations (usually as a result of a fever that exceeds 104 degrees F.), a persistent migraine, increased nasal or optical pressure, and according to a developing data set, an uncomfortable dissociated buzz that travels throughout the body.

Some patients have described the prodrmone as a bubbling fizz like sensation that erupts from the rib cage. Others say it’s like receiving an electric jolt and another minority has compared it to being “dunked in an icy lake.” 

By and large the symptom seems to appear just before the recovery process begins, when  respiratory effects start to subside but somatic exhaustion persists. 

“Clearly it’s been identified, but we’re just not sure yet how widespread it is,” Dr. Daniel Griffin, chief of infectious disease at ProHealth Care Associates explained in the New York Post. ”People are used to being sick and then in a few days being all good.This infection seems to have this tail to it — a lingering fatigue. There’s kind of a foggy, zombie-like state, where their eyes get glassy and they’re not quite as sharp,” he continued. 

Some health care professionals have thrown in with Dr.Griffin’s causal postulations, which includes “antibodies interfering with the way nerves work,”  while others have motioned theories of their own. All agree that the symptom is benign if not ill defined among the growing population reporting it. Even if the tingly sensation is an autoimmune response that affects the nervous system, the process has yet to be linked to fatal outcomes.

Most accounts have not described the symptom as painful per say, though some have likened it to a mild-sunburn and one patient said it slightly hindered his ability to use his hands. 

Having said that, there is a case to be made for the largely unreported neuropathies associated with SARS-COV-2 infection. Some of the early cases in Wuhan China were linked to stroke-like symptoms, including but not limited to temporary loss of vision and excessive trembling. Relevant comorbidities had yet to be identified at that time among a good many other things.  In fact it’s still unclear if any of the effects on the nervous system documented in COVID-19 patients are a result of the disease itself or our bodies’ attempt to initiate viral clearance. The latter is a confirmed explanation for the high fevers that attend any serious infection. 

“If people aren’t used to having fevers, maybe their skin really does feel like an electric sensation. It’s bothersome but benign,” Dr. Vipul Shah, Clinical Director at telehealth service Pack Health explained in a media release. “[Patients’] cognition seems to be doing better with us just waiting. The human body is a pretty impressive construct and often will get better.”

The only remedy for this particular symptom is supportive, as is the case with all of the symptoms linked to COVID-19. In Dr. Shah’s principled estimation, vera gel or mild lotion should do the trick to mitigate fizzing sensations associated with the disease.