SUNDAY, April 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — If you’re one of the many people who have had COVID for a long time, an expert offers advice on how to deal with it.
The first step: Give yourself time to recover.
“One thing we’ve seen repeatedly is that patients are pushing themselves too hard trying to recover. It makes sense. Everyone is so eager to ‘get back to normal life’ after their infection and their isolation,” said Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, director of the COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
But rushing through your daily routine can trigger discouraging flare-ups of long-lasting COVID symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle aches.
“The fastest way to recover is to start slow and easy and then try to gradually increase your activities,” Vanichkachorn said in a clinic press release.
It is important to stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet by following a balanced Mediterranean-style diet (including vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, fish, and olive oil) and avoiding processed foods and high in fat.
When you exercise, focus on resistance training first rather than heart-rate-boosting activities like walking and bicycling, Vanichkachorn said.
Cardiovascular exercise “is the most difficult type of activity for patients with post-COVID syndrome. Instead, start with resistance activities, such as working out with a resistance band, light free weights, yoga or Pilates,” Vanichkachorn said. “Once it’s going well, you can add some light cardio.”
Good sleep is also essential for recovery. Make sure your bedroom has good air circulation and is slightly cooler than during the day. Eliminate or minimize the use of electronic devices before bedtime, don’t consume caffeine after lunch, and don’t exercise within two hours of bedtime, he advised.
It’s also good to create a normal daytime schedule by getting up at a certain time, eating regular meals, and having a regular bedtime.
“About a third of patients have prolonged taste and smell disturbances after acute COVID infection. Fortunately, most patients will be better within six months, and even more within 12 months,” Vanichkachorn said. “If you want to speed things up, I recommend olfactory rehabilitation,” also known as olfactory rehabilitation.
“Fortunately,” he concluded, “the ideal recovery from post-COVID syndrome begins at home.”
There’s more on the long COVID at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, press release, April 7, 2022
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