While some cities are seeing a gradual dip, others are seeing a steep rise in the COVID cases. There is a good chance, a lot more of us would have caught the virus but being asymptomatic not have been severely affected by it. A panel of Indian scientists appointed by the government even went as far as to suggest that India may be standing at the door of achieving herd immunity.
The news of a vaccine solution soon is sending a feeling of positivity to even the stock investors. However, positive the news may be, COVID is neither gone, nor has it tapered in the severity with which it hurts symptomatic people.
If you have been an unfortunate victim, depending on the severity of your condition, recovery from COVID-19 can take a lot of time. It may even have left you with lingering symptoms. You are not alone. Dubbed as ‘post-COVID’, or ‘long COVID’, it is estimated tha t nearly 70%+ patients complain of prolonged signs and symptoms lasting for weeks or months after making a full recovery. Long haulers, as they are being referred to, can experience mild to severe symptoms. However, there have been two most reported symptoms – which could be a cause of worry. Fatigue and breathlessness.
Problems associated with breathing trouble have become so common that some recovered patients require assisted oxygen support for weeks after being tested negative to balance breathing and support vital functions. In addition to breathlessness, fatigue, and tiredness also trouble COVID recovered patients. Those experiencing it refer to it as a sort of fatigue like no other. Severe and frequent fatigue can also hit patients who have had a mild brush with COVID.
While there is no one reason for the two symptoms to strike, do note that novel coronavirus can launch a multi-pronged attack on the chest and lungs as well as render the immune system deficient. COVID ruins the healthy cells along with the lung linings, making one prone to infections, breathing issues and in some cases – tissue scarring and cause problems like lung fibrosis. It has not spared even the otherwise healthiest of people
Studies have also suggested that breathlessness and fatigue can also be the reason as to why some people may take a very long time to 'fully' recover from COVID-19, no matter how minute or severe the symptoms are. For some, a lingering viral load, no matter how better they feel may pose problems for the body. Viral replication, in the early days of sickness, can also lead to premature ageing of cells and slow down recovery time.
Widespread inflammation caused by the virus can continue to unload problems for a person, months after and require continuous monitoring. There's also a growing fear that a change in season and air quality levels could make matters even more difficult, making people gasp for air.
However, while the virus has been spiking up cases for a little over ten months now, it would take a little while longer for us to guy grasp and understand the cause, and perhaps the solution to long COVID.
Fatigue is a normal part of the body’s response to fighting a viral infection such as COVID-19. Fatigue is likely to continue for some time after the infection has cleared. It can make you sleep more, feel unsteady on your feet, make standing for long periods difficult, as well as affecting your ability to concentrate and your memory.
Rest: Rest is very important for your body as it fights off infection. You need to rest both your body and mind. Keep television, phones and social media to a minimum. Relaxation, breathing and meditation can all support quality rest. Sensory relaxation tools such as fragrances, blankets, and relaxing music can also help. If a strategy doesn’t work for you, try another one until you find one that does.
Your body still needs rest to continue healing, so take short breaks throughout the day, even if you don’t think you need to. Stop and do nothing, calm your mind, and try breathing or guided relaxation techniques.
Sleep: You may find that you need to sleep more. Make sure that you follow healthy sleeping habits. Ensure your room is as dark as possible, have a bedtime routine, and avoid caffeine, eating late and using electrical items before bed.
Nourishment: Try to keep your normal routine for eating and drinking. Being ill with a temperature can make you dehydrated. Make sure you drink fluid when you’re thirsty and enough so that you pass urine with normal frequency and volume.
Move: Get up and move around slowly and gently a few times each day. This will keep your body mobile and help with circulation.
Keep activity levels low: Both physical and cognitive (thinking) activities use energy. Try to do only a small number of these activities each day, including basic activities of daily living, such as washing and dressing. If you still feel fatigued after self-isolation but overall, you’re improving, keep being gentle with yourself. Slowly try a small amount of light activity that is manageable (probably less than you think) with regular rests. Be mindful that you may feel more tired the next day. Be realistic and kind to yourself.
Thinking activities: Continue to limit everyday ‘thinking’ activities, such as sending emails, planning, shopping, making decisions, as these activities require mental energy. These activities should be done on set times and take rest in between.
Slowly increase activity levels: People often increase activity levels too quickly, which can set them back. Occupational therapists working with people with long-term fatigue may only increase activity levels every couple of weeks. So, go slow and steady with activities and avoid pushing through fatigue.
Work: You may need longer off work than initially anticipated. A phased return works best which is planned with your manager and, if you have one, your occupational health department. You may also need a fit note from your GP. Try to avoid returning to work too soon and without the adjustments that you need to manage fatigue.
Allow time: COVID-19 affects people differently, so give yourself time to recover. Its impact afterwards doesn’t always reflect the severity of the virus and you don’t have to have been hospitalized to experience fatigue. You may feel pressure to resume your usual activities quickly, but don’t rush.
Have fun: Do some low energy activities that you enjoy, such as reading or watching TV, for short periods with regular rests. Remember the fun things in life. Often people only prioritise things that seem necessary as they return to daily life, but it’s important to have a balance. Allow others to help with day-to-day tasks so you can save energy for the activities you enjoy.
Stop: Unless you feel fully recovered after self-isolation, you shouldn’t work. Your body still needs to focus on fighting the infection.
Routine: Routine helps your body to stabilise itself. Slowly resume your routine for sleeping, eating and daily activities. If this isn’t possible, create a realistic one to follow for now and gradually adjust back to your normal routine. Remember, don’t rush.
You may start feeling better gradually. Your recovery from post-viral fatigue could take several months to a year or more. As you start to gradually improve, remember to keep a balance of quality rest, routine and fun activities. Stress and worry use energy, so give yourself time and be kind to yourself.
· If after building up the pacing of your daily activities, you don’t see any improvement in what you can do, then you should seek medical advice by speaking to your doctor.
· Find out more about pacing your daily activities in the ‘How to conserve your energy’ guide.
· If you continue to feel extremely fatigued, then specialist fatigue services may be available to provide further guidance. Ask your GP about referral options.
· Sujok therapy, Dr. Voll’s (German) acupressure and Ayurvedic acupressure has also lot to offer as a complementary treatment.
· To treat different respiratory diseases, focus on these pressure points, Acute dyspnea CV 14 ↓, Difficulty in breathing P 9 ↑, Painful dyspnea CV 12 ↓, Dyspnea with nervous cough CV 6 ↑.
Tiredness: There are a lot of ways tiredness attacks a patient depending on the organs or combination of organs damaged due to COVID-19, such as lungs, stomach, spleen, liver, kidney, vagina, blood circulation system, heart. etc. The Ayurvedic Research Institute - Allahabad has given protocols depending upon the diagnosis and symptoms of the problems. The same are given on our website. Please write the details on email so that the treatment could be suggested in consultation with the concerned doctor of from our Institute. And those who want to hold webinars, kindly contact us via our website.
Pressure points for treating tiredness:
Tiredness which aggravates in the evening, low voice, catches cold easily: Lu 9, St 36, Sp 6 ↑all.
Tiredness which is more pronounced in the morning, weakness in muscles, less appetite, uncomfortable feeling in the stomach after eating, semisolid stool, 50% cases of tiredness are due to blood deficiency: Sp 3 St 36, UB 20, UB 21, and CV 12 ↑all
Both physical & mental tiredness, palpitation, light sweating, depressed: P6, H 5, CV 6, 17, H 5, ↑all
Chronic physical & mental tiredness of old and middle-aged persons cough with white watery frothy sputum chilliness, splashing sound in chest: Lu 5, St 40, CV 9 ↓ all, Lu 9, CV 17, UB 13, UB 13, 37, CV 12, and St 36 ↑ all
(From increasing metabolism to overcoming physical problems, Prof Luthria speaks about the art of self-healing through simple techniques. For more information on treatments and remedies, visit www.artofselfhealing.in)