Teddi Mellencamp shared more details about a scary vertigo-related fainting episode she experienced last week—including how the incident may be connected to her past COVID-19 infection.
Last week, Mellencamp shared on Instagram that she bruised her eye and cheek and cut her lip after fainting and falling down. (Mellencamp was rushing to her daughter’s room in the middle of the night.) At the time, Mellencamp said she wasn’t sure about the cause of her dizziness and fainting. But on the latest episode her podcast, Mellencamp revealed that it may be a lingering symptom of a breakthrough COVID-19 infection.
“A while back, I had COVID,” Mellencamp said on Teddi Tea Pod With Teddi Mellencamp. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum was vaccinated and experienced a more mild illness than her unvaccinated husband, who also got COVID-19. The pair had to quarantine from their three young kids (one of whom has an autoimmune disease), which Mellencamp said was “extremely difficult.”
Mellencamp was pretty sick for about six days (compared to her husband’s 15), and said her main symptom was dizziness (along with “intense sweats,” and chest pain). “During COVID, the entire time when I had it, my biggest thing that I was feeling was what I call vertigo,” Mellencamp said. “I would feel like I was laying on a waterbed and then when I’d get up, I’d feel dizzy.”
That sensation has “lingered” with Mellencamp post-COVID, impacting her daily life. “Nothing so severe, but enough so that…I used to run eight miles a day. I haven’t been doing that,” Mellencamp said, adding that she’s been going for shorter walks, jogs, and bike rides instead. “My lifestyle has had to shift a little bit because of this lingering dizzy feeling that I was getting.”
Mellencamp, who noted she gets anxiety about going to the doctor, put the issue on the back burner and thought enough time had passed since her illness that she didn’t make the connection to COVID-19. But Mellencamp’s “severe” vertigo and fainting episode last week was a “wakeup call,” she said. “It was a really scary experience. I’ve still felt really foggy and just not like myself ever since,” Mellencamp said, adding that her facial injuries were pretty painful.
While dizziness has many causes and Mellencamp said she is consulting multiple specialists about her vertigo, she believes it may be a long-term side effect of COVID-19. “Something that I have heard is that this is a lingering effect post-COVID,” Mellencamp said.
Vertigo and dizziness are acute symptoms of COVID-19, research shows. One study on the neurological symptoms of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients found that dizziness or vertigo was present in 30% of people, as SELF reported. The issue can linger, too. Dizziness on standing is one of the many long-term symptoms people report experiencing weeks or months after their infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While research suggests that it’s relatively common for people to experience new or lingering symptoms (like fatigue, pain, breathing problems, and brain fog) after recovering from even a mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infection, there is still a lot left to learn about why the virus has these long-term effects—and how to prevent and treat them. Experts know even less about how often long COVID develops after breakthrough infections, which are generally more mild. While we wait to learn more, stories like Mellencamp’s are a good reminder to get vaccinated and mask up.