Fighting post-COVID fatigue: Here’s what doctors suggest

Medical experts say that people should limit themselves to mild muscle strengthening and breathing exercises at home for at least a couple of months after recovering from COVID-19.
Representation image for Coronavirus infection
Representation image for Coronavirus infection
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Of the total number of people who have had COVID-19 in India so far, 85.60% of them have tested negative for the coronavirus according to the Union Health Ministry, as of Tuesday. While scores of people are testing negative for the coronavirus each day, the road to recovery doesn't seem to be an easy one for many of them. The symptoms like cough, headache, and muscle pain linger in recovered patients from weeks to months together.

For 27-year old Shyam Sundar, it's been close to two weeks since he tested negative for coronavirus, however, he says, fatigue has remained and he is still not in a position to do any kind of heavy physical activity. While some others have said that they have been doing breathing exercises at home, and they have not attempted any other physical activities yet.

Post recovery has been tough not just for patients with severe symptoms but also for many who only had mild symptoms and were isolating at home. And the recovery pace and symptoms are varying from person to person.

When TNM spoke to doctors about the post-recovery phase, they say it takes anywhere between four to twelve weeks for a patient to recover from the symptoms of COVID-19.

Doctors suggest that people should limit themselves to doing only mild muscle strengthening and breathing exercises. And that anything beyond mild exercises would only lead to tiredness and fatigue at least for the first two months after testing negative.

“Muscle weakness and fatigue are common in the post-recovery phase of COVID-19. There are two reasons for this, one being lack of nutrition and the other being drop in the oxygen levels, which affects the tissues during the infection. In order to improve the condition, one should properly hydrate themselves and see that electrolytes are maintained. Sodium, potassium, and other such microelements should be balanced with proper nutrition to the body,” says Dr. Raj Kumar Korra, a consultant pulmonologist in Hyderabad.

He further suggests that basic muscle strengthening basic exercises such as walking, climbing stairs should be done along with breathing exercises to increase the capacity of the lungs.

Doctors also indicate that the presence of cough-like symptoms also hints at the presence of mild viral load in the body.

“If there is cough and other significant symptoms even after testing negative, it indicates the presence of mild viral load in the body and people should avoid stepping out. For a patient to completely recover from COVID-19, they have to take proper rest and should not strain themselves much,” says Dr. Sujeeth, a consultant surgeon, who has treated thousands of COVID-19 patients for free online.

Dr Sujeeth further adds that hydrating frequently and eating a nutritious diet is the key to recovery along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes maintaining the sleep cycle. He also suggests that while recovering one should take a vitamin test and should seek professional help to improve their immune system, if needed depending on the test result.

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