Rest, Recuperation After COVID-19, Best Ways to Heal
While there’s still so much we don’t know about COVID-19, one thing is for sure - it affects each person differently. And sometimes, even mild cases can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath.
But what if those symptoms continue even after you’ve tested negative for the virus? Dr. Kelli Tice Wells, Florida Blue’s Senior Medical Director for medical affairs says it’s important to note that lingering symptoms after testing negative for COVID-19 is not uncommon.
“It’s not unusual to take up to a few months to feel like yourself again,” said Dr. Wells. “Don’t be discouraged. Give yourself time to rest and recuperate—and that includes eating a healthy diet and getting your flu shot to prevent further illness.”
Some of the most common symptoms people still experience post-COVID-19 include shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, fatigue, lack of energy, nausea, forgetfulness or “foggy brain” and even hair loss. These symptoms may make completing daily chores like showering, making your bed or folding laundry, exhausting.
Even though these symptoms are common and may last for a few months, it’s not necessary to be retested for the virus for at least 90 days unless you develop new symptoms, which are worrisome for COVID-19, or worsening symptoms. However, if you develop new symptoms that are not typical of COVID-19 like acute pain, you should see your doctor right away.
In fact, it’s important to stay connected with your primary care physician throughout your recovery. He or she will track your progress and can advise you on taking steps to feeling better.
SARS CoV2 is a new virus, and the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still unclear even though research is underway. Stay vigilant and protect yourself and your family by following the CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask to cover your nose and mouth, avoiding crowds, and maintaining social distance of at least 6-feet from those who live outside of your household.
Below are a few at-home recovery tips from two of Florida Blue’s registered nurses and Care Consultants, and from a Mayo Clinic podcast featuring Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn (Dr. Van), a preventive, occupational and aerospace medicine specialist and director of Mayo’s outpatient COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program or CARP. Keep in mind, while activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, always check with your doctor beforehand.
- Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. Work to increase your activity levels slowly each day.
- Start small: Get up during TV commercials, walk around the house and stretch slowly to get your blood flowing. Dr. Van says the familiar mantra, “no pain-no gain” can cause further harm.
- Set goals for getting back to your daily routine. The CARP program specializes in “whole person care” and includes a multidisciplinary team of experts who can help.
- Begin easy. Standing at the countertop, raise your toes, then lower your heels 15 times and try to repeat for three sets. Also, standing at a countertop, practice standing on one foot. If it’s easy, then close your eyes. Use your hands for balance.
- Practice yoga and meditation. They help build strength and relieve stress and anxiety. Look for classes on Florida Blue’s Facebook Page and check out our blogs for great tips and resources, too. Also, the CARP program provides mental health support as well.
The best thing you can do to is pay attention to your body. Getting back to your old self and your daily activities may take some time. Don’t push it.
Filed under: Healthy Living