Dr Yojna Matkar Mange, senior physiotherapist says, "Once the active infection subsides most survivors have sufficient antibodies which can prevent reinfection, but research is still inconclusive as to how long does this immunity last. Especially for people who belong to the high risk category or old age, preventive measures to safeguard the immunity can be very helpful. Hence, post COVID infection precautionary measures should be followed and safety should not be compromised."
As per guidelines stated by the World Health Organization, wearing masks, maintaining social distance is mandatory but some other measures can also help boost immunity and maintain holistic wellness.
Apart from the more obvious physical impact, this pandemic has struck emotional chaos and an undeniable effect on the psychological wellbeing of the patients, their families and society at large. Music therapist Kamakshi Khurana says, “When it comes to post Covid care, good effects of music can be noticed in how directly they impact affected areas particularly in these patients. Singing and even humming, aids the expansion of the capacity and function of one’s lungs. This helps to repair any damage that may have been caused during the course of one’s illness. It stimulates the immune response in the system which is something that anyone recovering from a disease like Covid may need to accelerate.”
Having access to the right type of music and listening to it, or singing along has been found to be therapeutic and helps in stress reduction, dealing with anxiety and trauma.
Therapist Vishala K, adds “Apart from the psychological effect, it has also been found that singing helps to improve the breathing capacity of an individual - by working on regulating the breath and clearing the respiratory tubes. It has been found to strengthen the muscles, thus enabling one to breathe more deeply and in a more controlled manner.”
Experts share a few pointers which can be helpful…
REGULAR MEDICATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP TESTS:
Post COVID do not skip prescribed medication by a medical expert for your current condition as well as for any pre-existing health issues. Patients with severe infection or breathing issues should get an oximeter at home to monitor oxygen saturation, pulse rate. Blood pressure should also be documented for a few weeks. Medical abuse or self medication should be avoided at any cost.
WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:
Post recovery body is still vulnerable to infection. Spotting signs like breathlessness, high fever, chest pain, delirium, confusion, extreme weakness, and gastric issues can save you from trouble if reported at the earliest.
As COVID 19 majorly affects the respiratory system, many patients may require physiotherapeutic interventions in the form of breathing exercises to improve their lung capacity and endurance. Physiotherapists have been the frontline workers contributing to constantly thrive and help patients to improve their lung functions, improve muscular strength and endurance, improve ability to ventilate and oxygenate better and reduce the external demand of supplemental oxygen.
Drinking plenty of fluid will help the organs replenish. Warm water infused with anti-inflammatory agents like honey, turmeric or other medicinal herbs can help soothe sore throats and reduce nasal congestion. Steam inhalation and gargles also can be useful to relieve these symptoms.
The body has gone through a serious fight to push back the virulent invader. A balanced nutritious diet is extremely essential to combat the loss of muscle mass, appetite and to overcome general weakness. A diet rich in good carbohydrates for energy and including good sources of proteins like eggs, planner, tofu, and chicken are great to make up for the muscle loss. Increase intake of healthy oils and fats like omega 3, nuts and seeds.
Proper sleep will ensure good healing and help the body to bounce back soon. Overstraining and taking the recovery stage lightly can do more harm and slow down the healing process.
AVOID SMOKING AND ALCOHOL:
Alcohol abuse and smoking can be a risk factor for COVID and also harmful for the body in the long term. Consumption should be moderated in the recovery phase to hasten the healing process.
PROTECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING:
Your physical health is a reflection of your mental health. The news coverage on social media and mass media can be overwhelming. Restrict and filter the information you consume as it could lead to, or increase your stress and anxiety. Do not be hard on yourself to rush back to work or fitness. Your body needs some time to heal, and it’s okay to not be guilty to take that extra time off.
DID YOU KNOW?
The recovery from Covid can be aided with the right kind of listening. Experts say that music improves one’s mood because the body produces endorphins - or the “feel good hormone” when you are singing or listening to music. “Listening to music helps mental, emotional, physical, spiritual well-being. Different types of music stimulate different types of responses in one’s emotional and physical being and the right kind of music can really have an effect on how one feels overall. Music has been found to lower cortisol levels which decrease stress and anxiety, thus helping the overall recovery process,” says Vishala.