If you are recovering from COVID-19 infections, then you might be anxious to know if your recovery is normal. With such a new virus, there’s still much more that is yet to discover. What we do know is what others have experienced, like difficulty climbing the stairs or keeping up with the other activities they used to enjoy or not being able to taste their favourite food. Whatever it is that you are enduring, the good news is there’s plenty you can do to help your body recover. Learn more about the problems following COVID-19 and what you can do to care for yourself or loved ones with COVID-19 at home with us.
Loss of Taste & Smell
By now, we all know that it is really common to lose your sense of taste or smell if you had a COVID-19 infection. Experts think it happens because the virus damages some of the cells lining our noses. The good news is that for most people, this problem doesn’t last too long. But if you’ve been missing the scent of your favourite shower gel or the aroma of your morning coffee, you might be anxious to know what you can do to bring your senses back.
Smell Training. Line up a variety of the things that you know (eg lemon, clove, mint, ground coffee, or vanilla). Smell your first food item gently for a few seconds, but don’t sniff too hard. After a few minutes break, move on to the next item.
Upping the Flavour. Adding strong tasting flavours to your food might help your sense of taste. For example, Kimchi, herbs, spices, mustard, pickles, or any citrus flavours.
Getting breathless is a normal response to exertion, and is a way to help get more oxygen to our muscles when we move. For example, running for a bus or going upstairs. It is ok to be breathless when going through an exertion. This breathlessness should settle with rest and get better over time. You can also try breathing exercises following the COVID-19 infection.
Rectangular breathing. When we breathe out, it should be longer than when we are breathing in. For example, breathing in on a count of one, two, and then breathing out on a count of three, four, or five.
Positions that help to ease breathlessness include; relaxed sitting, forward lean, backward lean, and high side-lying.
Dry cough has been reported to be one of the most persistent symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
To deal with a dry cough, staying well hydrated is the most important step. When drinking water, take small sips one after another (avoid taking large sips). You can also perform steam inhalation by preparing a bowl of hot water and place your head over the bowl. Slowly inhale the steam. Be cautious not to use boiling water.
You will probably notice yourself sleeping more than before following the COVID-19 infection. This is your body’s natural healing process following an acute infection. The problem comes when you sleep too much during the day and have difficulty sleeping at night. Try to relax before going to bed, have a warm bath, and avoid any caffeinated drinks in the evening. Avoid heavy meals shortly before going to bed and try to establish a routine for getting up and going to bed at roughly the same time every day. Keep your bedroom quiet and turn off all electronic appliances, to make sure you have a peaceful and relaxing place.
COVID-19 infection may affect people to different degrees, and so is the length of time for recovering from it completely. Remember to be kind to yourself and allow the time you need to recover. Nevertheless, it’s not resting all day. Rest is important but too much will cause you to slow your recovery and lose muscle mass. Instead, experts always recommend exercising little and often. All you need is to aim to do a little better each time. For example at the beginning of your recovery, you can grab a chair and practice sit-to-stand exercises or just take the stairs each step at a time. Then, as your confidence grows, gently work your way towards more challenging exercises. Your body has been through an ordeal, and it’s going to take time to get back to how you were before.