Updated: September 17, 2021 12:47:19 am
TO CREATE awareness about post-Covid complications and management, a pictorial booklet — titled ‘Post Covid-19 Management: Your Guide to Long Covid-19 Care’ — written and designed by Dr Ravindra Khaiwal from PGI and Dr Suman Mor from Panjab University was released in Chandigarh on Thursday.
The booklet, in a simple and informative manner, attempts to reach out to the public by highlighting information on post-Covid symptoms and their management, with the authors emphasising on the need to follow the symptoms that may appear after Covid-19 so that timely treatment can be initiated to minimise complications — including symptoms in children and psychosocial support.
“Through a nutritious diet, simple exercises, and regular follow-ups with doctors, we can minimise complications and fasten recovery,” said Dr Khaiwal, additional professor, Department of Community Medicine & School of Public Health.
Many patients, said Dr Khaiwal, experience Covid symptoms after completing treatment or after discharge from the hospital. People who continue to have mild to moderate symptoms after Covid recovery are said to have post-Covid syndrome or long Covid syndrome.
Post-acute Covid-19 is defined as lasting more than three weeks after the beginning of the first symptoms, while chronic Covid is defined as lasting more than 12 weeks. “Post Covid-19 symptoms appear to be a multisystem sickness that can emerge after a relatively minor or acute illness. Adverse events that occur over the course of Covid-19 and its treatment may have long-term consequences. It is therefore critical to investigate post-Covid effects,” recommends the doctor.
Fatigue, pain, arthralgia, and lower physical capacity for daily activities are commonly reported physical health concerns post-recovery. Other symptoms include cough, low-grade fever, breathlessness, chest pain, headache, weakness, stomach disturbance, and skin allergies such as rashes.
Patients who had severe Covid symptoms or who had a pre-existing sickness are more likely to take longer to recover. Older people and those with major medical illnesses are at risk of experiencing post-Covid sequelae. Covid infection is also linked to a high prevalence of extrapulmonary consequences (such as heart and kidney), resulting in long-term illness, disability, and fatality in survivors. Anxiety, despair, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are among the most common mental health issues after the recovery from the disease.
Patients who develop severe symptoms often develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and mucormycosis. Acute respiratory distress syndrome can induce irreversible scarring of the lung tissue, which can lead to long-term respiratory issues.
The booklet recommends nutritional guidelines like small, healthy frequent meals, and spreading out calorie consumption throughout the day.
“To prevent muscle loss and to enhance respiratory muscle strength, a protein-rich diet is recommended. It is suggested that you should consume 1.2-1.3 gram of protein per kilo of body weight each day. Including milk, fresh curd, cheese, eggs, lean meat, fish, legumes, is also recommended. Obese patients frequently suffer from respiratory problems, weakened immune systems, increased inflammation, and decreased muscular strength. These people are more susceptible to pneumonia, and heart stress,” added Dr. Khaiwal.
Vitamin C, a strong antioxidant, helps to improve lung health and is present in citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, while a zinc-rich diet will help boost the immune system. “Vitamin D helps to maintain muscle strength and keeps bones healthy. To maintain good hydration, drink plenty of water. Opt for regular physical activity as prescribed by your physician and start breathing exercises to improve lung health. After Covid recovery, the patient’s initial follow-up appointment should be within seven days of discharge, and patients with recurrent infection require critical care support with more stringent follow-up,” summed up Dr Khaiwal.
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