Covid-19 is caused by the virus Sars-coV-2, which primarily attacks the respiratory system. In severe cases, it leads to breathing complications, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can be fatal. Covid-19 can leave long-term damage to the body’s other organs too. Self-care is of critical importance post-Covid, as there is always a possibility of re-infection, given the new strains that are still emerging. Despite vaccination, the body’s natural immunity mechanism is considerably weakened, and is vulnerable to lingering weakness, breathing difficulty and other health complications.
Steps to Self-Care
- Avoid smoking: If you’re a smoker, you must quit immediately, so as not to cause further damage to your respiratory system and your general health.
- Diet: Increase the intake of protein-rich foods and foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to help rebuild immunity and regain stamina: include eggs, cheese, curd, fish, chicken, nuts, pulses and legumes, multigrain bread, spinach, green leafy vegetables, salmon, mushrooms, vitamins B & C- rich fruits like apples, papaya, oranges, guavas, bananas, etc. in the diet. Avoid heavily spiced foods, oily, greasy foods and stick to lean meats if you’re a non-vegetarian.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids.
- Get your daily vitamin-D: Soak in the sun for at least 20 minutes a day.
- Deep breathing exercises: Most people seldom employ correct breathing techniques and use only part of their actual lung capacity. Deep breathing helps to strengthen your lungs and increase oxygen intake to accelerate repair and healing. Inhale deeply through the nose, hold for a few moments and exhale slowly. This will help keep the nasal passages clear and ease congestion if any. Repeat for at least 10-15 minutes a day.
- Spirometer: This is an instrument to measure a person’s lung capacity, by deeply blowing his breath into it. Daily use of the spirometer is of immense use to observe and monitor the lung capacity, as well prevent associated complications like pneumonia and tuberculosis.
- Physical exercise: Avoid heavy and strenuous exercise initially: begin with a mild-moderate walking on the treadmill to get the adrenaline flowing. Gradually move to stationary biking, cardio-work-outs, on-the-spot skipping, and jogging, strictly under the supervision of your doctor.
- Diagnostic & pathology tests: Go for a regular full body check-up including blood tests to monitor progress every 3 months.
-Blood tests to measure if the parameters are within normal and healthy range. These include:
*Blood glucose count
*Kidney function test
*Liver function test
*Serum ferritin & IL6
– Cardiac screening – Echo cardiogram can be done to check the function of the heart.