COVID-19 has changed the face of the world and affected millions of people. Whilst it’s only deadly for less than 1% of people, it can go on to cause long term respiratory problems and other issues long after you’ve recovered from the initial virus.
It can also take weeks to start to feel like you’re back to normal again. For sufferers of long COVID, the recovery period can take months. Here are a selection of recommendations from medical professionals and the World Health Organisation for helping you get through COVID-19 in one piece.
Resting is the most important thing you can do in recovery from COVID-19. This not only means getting more sleep than you usually would, but also taking it easy through the day. If you’re someone who does lots of intense exercise or spends their day running around, then cut back a little bit whilst recovering.
Staying away from caffeine during recovery will also help, but if you need your caffeine boost in the morning then just try to stay away from caffeine after lunch time so that you can get the best night’s sleep possible.
COVID is causing long term damage to the lungs. But this damage doesn’t have to be irreparable. Regular cardio exercise will improve the health of your heart and wider cardiac system. In the same way, breathing exercises will help improve lung function. Breathing exercises like Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) will train your breathing muscles to work more efficiently and become stronger. This means that IMT will be beneficial not just in recovering from the damage COVID-19 can bring but also in helping to prevent it to begin with.
IMT is part of a wider practice of chest physiotherapy which can also include cough and stretching exercises and diaphragm training. Chest physiotherapy can reduce or even eliminate the need for artificial ventilation entirely.
Companies like POWERbreathe make tools to help with IMT that are scientifically proven to strengthen the diaphragm that are simple to use at home and can help anyone from a couch potato to an olympic athlete. All you have to do is breathe in through the device against resistance for 30 breaths twice a day.
POWERbreathe’s tools have even been recommended by the World Health Organisation as an important factor in COVID-19 recovery.
Drinking warm fluids
Doctors have advised that drinking warm salt water will help with nasal congestion and a sore throat. Drinking warm teas and honey dissolved in boiled water will also help with sore throats, as will steamy showers and steam inhalations.
If you’re not a fan of hot drinks, make sure you drink a lot of water in an effort to stay hydrated. Warm soups are a good way to eat whilst soothing your throat and replenishing your salt levels without irritating your throat further.
Use ice packs
COVID can make you feel feverish and also induces painful headaches. It can be difficult to cool off and relieve pain, especially if you’re stuck at home. When you first start to show symptoms, make yourself a selection of ice packs to use across your forehead or your neck to relieve headaches and that horrible sweaty fever feeling.
Make use of over the counter medications
Whilst there’s no proof that supplements are directly linked to fast COVID recovery, we know that there are vitamins like Zinc and Vitamins C and D that can help boost your immune system. You can also buy over the counter saline spray to help with nasal congestion, and painkillers like ibuprofen to help relieve any pain that comes with the cough and headache.
Have you or anyone you know had COVID-19? What did you do to make recovery easier?