Friday, February 18, 2022

Dealing With The Invisible Aftereffects Of Covid-Fatigue

Recuperating post Covid-19 needs to be dealt with as seriously as the actual infection. A recent study found that nearly 69% of patients recovering from Covid-19 reported persistent fatigue.1 Covid-fatigue is a real problem that most people are unable to even identify which eventually delays and impacts full-term recovery. 

The pandemic has heightened the attention we pay to our health. With a disease as infectious and injurious as Covid-19, it is important for us to be aware and informed of immediate as well as long-term health implications. Understanding these implications will enable us to appropriately deal with them to ensure that we are making the right choices and decisions for ourselves and our loved ones. While a negative test result is definitely reason enough to be relieved, it should not be viewed as a green signal for rushing back to our usual way of life.

Common signs and symptoms that linger over time after a viral infection like Covid-19 includes shortness of breath, cough, muscle pain or headache, depression, or anxiety amongst others. However, one of the most common aftereffects is Covid-fatigue - the constant fatigue as well as lack of energy and focus that affects our daily lifestyle.

The food that we consume directly affects the way that we feel and the way our bodies function. A healthy, balanced diet play an important role in our overall health and immune systems. This is as true during an illness as it is in the recovery phase.

One of the key factors to post Covid-19 recovery and managing Covid-fatigue is to allow your body the time and right nourishment to heal and strengthen itself says Jothydev Kesavadev, MBBS and MD, Government Medical College, Trivandrum. Ensuring a healthy, balanced diet comprising the 5 food groups should be your companion through the sickness period and even later in the post recovery stage to help your body successfully fight external infection. As part of your successful post-Covid lifestyle, it is important to monitor and maintain ideal body weight. Post any illness, there is a natural tendency to overeat to try and regain lost energy. This can result in excessive weight gain which comes with its own set of health issues. For those seeking to regain energy and stamina post convalescence, it is advisable to adopt smart, healthy and balanced eating habits complemented by requisite nutritional supplement intake.

Understand the nutrition that your body needs - The role of nutrition in overcoming the effects of Covid-19 is substantial given that overall health starts to weaken as the virus settles into the host’s body. Even after the virus is long gone, the body is still weak. The best way to tackle this problem is to recognise your body’s nutrition requirement and address it with an appropriate, balanced diet or a nutritional supplement. A weak body is also fertile ground for future infections and diseases given that immunity levels are low. Strengthening your body from the inside with the correct nutrition is vital to re-building your immunity shield.

Stay high on hydration - Keeping your body well hydrated is important for many reasons – to regulate body temperature, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Lack of hydration or fluids can, leave you feeling lethargic with difficulty in focusing on cognitive tasks.

Take baby steps – Resist the urge to get back to life as it was before you were detected with Covid-19. Your body has undergone tremendous stress and needs time to work its way back to initial stamina levels – one jumping jack or squat at a time! For those keen resuming exercise routines, phase out your return over a comfortable period. Ease your way back in with small, achievable milestones, re-familiarize yourself with your body and most importantly, listen to what your body has to say.

Covid-fatigue hits everyone differently. For some, it could last a few days and for some, it could linger on for weeks or even months. The solution to overcoming this is simple and rests with you.

1 Mandal S, Barnett J, Brill SE, et al. ‘Long-COVID’: a cross-sectional study of persisting symptoms, biomarker and imaging abnormalities following hospitalisation for COVID-19. Thorax 2020 [Online ahead of print]

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