At this point, we’ve all become aware of COVID-19 and the impact it has on people when they are sick with the virus. But the initial infection is just the start of many people’s recovery journey. Approximately 30% will experience Long COVID, a diverse set of symptoms that can last for months. This includes those whose initial illness is relatively light.
Long COVID symptoms are diverse. They include fatigue, breathing and heart issues, neurological impact, mental health (anxiety), and brain fog. Not recognizing Long COVID affects those returning to the workplace and not able to meet previous expectations.
Brain fog is not unique to COVID-19. It’s also common for people recovering from cancer treatment, menopause, and chronic illness. It includes short term memory loss, difficulty focusing on tasks, blurred vision, and mental acuity.
Working with Long COVID
As we bring our whole selves to work, this includes our temporary and permanent disabilities. There are tools and resources for succeeding while experiencing Long COVID and Brain Fog. This starts with recognition from leaders and managers, working together for accommodations plans, and realistic goals and expectations.
With an awareness of Long COVID and Brain Fog, we can make changes to our products and services to support our customers and colleagues. Designs should support readability, recognition instead of recall, and simple vs complex designs.
The following resources have been collected while researching Long COVID, Brain Fog, and inclusive design for an upcoming presentation at CSUN 22. There’s a lack of information about how we can use our roles as accessibility and inclusive design leaders to improve the usability of our products and services for people who have Long COVID and its associated disabilities. Now is the time for us to reevaluate our work to include short term memory loss, anxiety, loss of focus, readability, and alternative documentation formats.
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