When I found out I had been exposed to the virus and that my test was positive, my mind started racing about what I would have to do to get better. But in this case, the process of fighting the virus and recovering from it is longer than a cold.
After telling my boyfriend, his response was to get better by getting more sleep and not eating Pop-Tarts for breakfast. Now while this is good advice, especially when you're sick, I thought I would do more research about ways to recover from COVID-19. If you're unsure of taking part in any of these tips, make sure to check with your doctor or expert you trust.
1. Stop exercising
According to UnityPoint Health, sweating out a cold can be useful in some ways since our bodies do release chemicals to repair themselves and control the levels of stress when exercising, but there is a limit to how much our bodies can handle, especially with this virus. Walking and yoga might be beneficial when showing early symptoms of the virus, but later on, meditation and breathing exercises might be better for your health.
If you notice symptoms such as a fever, muscle pain, vomiting, and headache, this means your body is occupied fighting off the virus and needs your energy to do its job. If you're using this energy to go on long runs or do grueling core workouts, your body won't be able to fight off the virus like it needs to.
2. Monitor your symptoms
As soon as you find out you were exposed or start to feel symptoms, it's recommended to start a detailed log, whether it's in a notebook or on your phone. By keeping track of your symptoms, temperature, when you eat or drink, or every time you take a pill, you are able to see what medicines work and what days were worse than others in the long run.
If you do end up needing to go to the hospital, they will also be able to look closer at your records. In my home, my mom has a table set up with a thermometer, alcohol wipes, tissues, and a trash bag to ensure we regularly take our temperatures.
3. Keeping an eye on your mental health
Whether you officially have COVID-19 or are unsure about your symptoms and those around you, it's common to feel anxious or feel panicked. In my own experience, it's important to monitor breathing, ensuring that you're taking deep breaths and using your lungs' full capacity.
When you've been in the house for multiple days, perhaps it would be beneficial to open the windows or sit outside for a while. It's important to do what makes you feel safe and relaxed, including watching Netflix, reading your favorite book series, or watching your favorite comfort movie. Make sure you're still talking to your friends and family despite your challenges with your health, as this communication can make you feel better as well!
4. Stay hydrated
According to Providence, it's important to drink at least 2-4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. Beverages like water, low-sugar sports drinks, vegetable juice, and tea are beneficial when fighting illnesses. If you're an avid coffee drinker, make sure you take a break from drinking this caffeinated beverage, as well as avoiding milk, soda, and alcohol.
Drinking a cup of Chai tea before bed has soothed my throat and chest, as well as making me a bit more relaxed when going to bed. As I mentioned before, it's important to make sure you are doing what you can to feel good and this often starts with being hydrated.
5. Keep up with nutrition
As I mentioned earlier, Pop-Tarts might not be the way to go when fighting off an illness like COVID-19. Chicken noodle soup, which relieves congestion and later reduces sinus pressure, can benefit your health as well as crackers, eggs, bananas, apples, and any leafy green vegetables. Honey can also relieve your cough and soothe your sore throat.
Avoiding dairy is also important when considering how it can aggravate nausea and make it harder to digest food. I would recommend the drive up methods that stores like Target and Giant Eagle offers, where employees put what you ordered in your trunk, so you're not constantly getting fast food through Uber Eats.
6. Don’t expect a horizontal recovery
So far in my COVID-19 experience, I found that on my second day of having symptoms, I had much more energy than I thought I would. However, the day after I was more fatigued and my breathing felt somewhat different.
Like people's fever when they're not feeling well, many of their other symptoms can go up and down repeatedly. A way to fight this uncertainty off is regulating what we eat or how much we sleep, controlling what we can control when having this virus.
Nonetheless, COVID-19 does have the ability to affect many long-term aspects of our life, including organ damage to the heart, lungs, and brain. By taking the proper precautions, focusing on recovery days, relaying important information to your doctor, and getting enough rest, you should be able to keep track of your symptoms and how these will affect you in the long run.
In conclusion, be sure to keep up with your health when having COVID-19. Not only should you be monitoring what medication you take, but you should also look toward eating healthy food and maintaining your mental health. If you don't have COVID, make sure you continue wearing a mask, limiting who you hang out with, and keeping your distance from people. CDC Guidelines can be found here as well as here.