The spread of the COVID-19 virus has been steadily increasingin our country. While some people afflicted with COVID-19are hospitalised due to the severity of the
illness, others who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of COVID-19 are being managed well,isolated at home.
It is of utmost importance to follow protocols and take necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the virus and ensure consumption of healthy,
nutritious meals for faster recovery.
People with COVID-19 may experience symptoms ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to virus.
It is wise to consult a doctor if one experiences any of the below mentioned symptoms.
Note: Inform the doctor and ask for medical help using the helpline numbers provided if any of the above symptoms aggravate, viz.Fever, frequent diarrhoea, extreme thirst, feeling weak, dizziness or fainting, wheezing or trouble breathing, chest pain, blood in your sputum.
First few days are crucial so diagnosis and treatment in that period is important to avoid complications and hospitalisation. Remember Day 5 to Day 10 is when the severity of the symptoms can change.
General tips for home isolation:
- All asymptomatic COVID-19 cases that isolate at home must be very careful for at least 14 days as their
condition can suddenly deteriorate due to happy hypoxia* in the second week.
- Every home isolated case should have a separate room with a toilet, 24 x 7 connectivity with a medical or
health care provider and a simple pulse oximeter and thermometer to monitor blood oxygen levels & body temperature.
- Avoid contact or maintain minimal contact with family members.
- Designate one person (use of Mask, gloves, sanitation compulsory for both patient and caregiver) to take care of the person who is sick.
- Keep your utensils like plates, spoons and glass separate. If you have an elderly person or family member
at home with any comorbidity who is vulnerable to infection, use disposable plates and spoons to avoid the spread.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces, doorknobs and other commonly touched surfaces using disinfectant wipes.
- Ensure you have a mask on always and do not forget to cover your mouth while sneezing and coughing.
- It is advisable to avoid having large meals at a time as this may causeincreased breathlessness. Refer to the dietary guidelines given below.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking boiled warm water throughout the day.
- Measure your temperature at least twice a day.
- Take a six-minute walk test twice a day to gauge if your oxygen saturation is falling. If the oxygen saturation is
maintained above 94 percent then there is no reason to worry. However, if the person gets breathless or symptomatic or
the oxygen saturation drops then you need to rush to an oxygen health care facility or hospital.
- Ensure that the room has good air flow. Keep the windowsopen and switch on the fan.
- Key to COVID-19 management is the lungs and respiratory exercises including yogic kriyas, pranayama help.
- If you do not have a spirometer at home, blow a balloon or a paper bag to increase your lung capacity.
- When isolated in your room at home, the most important aspects to be kept in mind are a clean, well ventilated environment promoting positive
mental health and a high protein diet rich in micronutrients like vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc. Include herbs and spices like tulsi, pepper, ginger and turmeric.
- It is recommended to do steam inhalation and throat gargling.
- Meditate and relax.
In happy hypoxia, a person’s oxygen levels are so low that they could be fainting or experiencing organ damage, but instead, they are
seemingly well, until eventually, they collapse.
Follow the dietary guidelines mentioned in the table below to avoid fatigue and aid faster recovery.
Dietary guidelines for home isolation:
Nutrition support post COVID-19for recovery
For patients diagnosed with COVID-19, surviving the disease may just be the first battle among many on the long road to recovery. Even if patients with COVID-19 recover physically, they are vulnerable to long-lasting mental health problems. Long-term psychological distress and post-traumatic stress disorder can develop in more than half of the patients who survive critical illness.It is advisable to monitor yourself at least for at least 2 weeks post recovery.
After recovering from COVID-19,people may experience the following symptoms:
- Fatigue- Low energy levels
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing due to pulmonary fibrosis
- Chest congestion
- Sinus Tachycardia (heart rate greater than 100 beats/min (bpm).
- Cough with phlegm
- Insomnia or difficulty in sleeping
- Anxiety and fear
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Guidelines for post COVID-19 recovery:
- Shortness of breath is a common complaint; hence small frequent meals are advised instead of big meals.
- Include whole grains such as barley, broken wheat, oats, wheat, ragi, bajra, jowar, brown rice or roots such as yam, sweet potato.
- Include protein sources like egg, poultry, fish, dairy products, soybean, dals & pulses.
- Include nuts & dry fruits like almonds, walnut, and pistachio, apricot, dates, prunes.
- Include fresh seasonal and local fruits and vegetables.
- Limit salt intake.Reduce on intake of salty foods.
- Include 1 tsp. desi ghee and omega three fat sources like walnuts, seeds, and fatty fish [Salmon (Ravas), Tuna, Mackerel(Bangda)].
- Drink 8–10 glasses of water every day. It helps to transport nutrients in the blood, gets rid of waste, and regulates the body temperature.
- To avoid cough and mucus, keep sipping on warm water throughout the day.
- You can havesoups and herbal concoctions to keep your throat moist and body warm.
- Try and avoid alcohol, sugary drinks, coffee to prevent dehydration.
- Inhale steam 2-3 times a day.
- Try sleeping on the left side or lie in an elevated position on your side to prevent cough.
- Rework your daily schedule to adjust to your body’s needs. Include some form of exercise anddo yoga to relax your mind and body.
- Practice meditation and breathing exercises.
- Ensure to get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Adequate sleep will help to support immune functioning.
- Oil Pulling is recommended on waking. Taking a spoonful of cold pressed virgin oil (preferably coconut oil) and
swishing it in your mouth for about 5 minutes, like using a mouthwash. Ensure to spit it out and immediately rinse with some warm water.
- Post COVID-19, mental health care is important as many suffer from post - traumatic stress disorder.
- While maintaining physical distancing, ensure to be socially connected. Indulge in hobbies and spend time with
the family (virtually if still in quarantine) to avoid thefeeling of being lonely, anxiety and fear.
Note:Maintain a routine, follow a healthy lifestyle by eating a well-balanced diet, being regular and disciplined with exercise, meditation, and sleep.
- Ghosh A, Nundy S, Mallick TK. How India is dealing with COVID-19 pandemic. Sensors International. 2020;1:100021. doi:10.1016/j.sintl.2020.100021
- COVID-19 Care in India: Evolving Paradigms from Public Health to Critical Care- Shashank R Joshi
- Fernández-Quintela A, Milton-Laskibar I, Trepiana J, et al. Key Aspects in Nutritional Management of COVID-19 Patients. J Clin Med. 2020;9(8):2589.
Published 2020 Aug 10. doi:10.3390/jcm908258
- https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/after-recovery-patients-report-sleeplessness-and-anxiety/article32556095.ece- 2020 Sep 8.
- Giammaria D, Pajewski A. Can early treatment of patients with risk factors contribute to managing the COVID-19 pandemic?.
J Glob Health. 2020;10(1):010377. doi:10.7189/jogh.10.010377