4 January 2022

Long Covid – What it is and what you can do about it?

LONG COVID 

The Covid-19 pandemic touched all our lives, some a lot more than others. The majority of people who experienced Covid-19 firsthand make a full recovery from the illness within 12 weeks. However, many people who contracted the virus continue to have lingering symptoms up to 6 months later and even longer. The phrase “long Covid” has been given for such instances. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), long Covid is defined as symptoms that remain longer than 12 weeks after the initial sickness. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a slightly different definition. It states, “Post Covid-19 conditions develop in persons with a history of suspected or proven SARS CoV-2 infection, generally three months from the commencement of Covid-19 with symptoms that remain for at least two months and cannot be explained by another diagnosis.”  

More than two million people in the UK are believed to have long Covid, with a similar prevalence in the USA, where there have been more than 43 million cases of Covid-19. 

 

What are the Symptoms of Long Covid?  

Many people who experience long Covid begin to feel like they’re trapped in a never-ending cycle of getting better only to then get worse again. For obvious reasons, this cycle begins to take a toll not only on their physical health but also on their mental and emotional health. As one might think, these long-term impacts aren’t limited to those who required hospitalization or who were extremely ill when they initially contracted the virus. Long Covid can happen to anyone who had the illness but seems to be more prevalent among women than men.  

With fatigue being the most reported lingering symptom, other lasting symptoms associated with long Covid include: 

  • Coughing persistently 
  • Heart palpations 
  • Muscle pains  
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Change of taste and smell 
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty sleeping 

 

What can you do if you’re struggling with long Covid? 

The good news is that there are many things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms associated with long Covid.  

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in antioxidants 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your diet plays a significant role in the inflammation balance of the body. Many foods, including oily fish rich in omega 3, the spices turmeric (which includes the inflammatory balancing component, curcumin), and ginger, interact specifically with anti-inflammatory pathways and help decrease the inflammatory response. High levels of inflammation can produce oxidative stress and reduce cellular antioxidant capacity, so a boost of antioxidants could be vital at this time. Fruits and vegetables are among the best sources for a diet to be rich in antioxidants. Starting the day with a nutrient-dense smoothie made with berries and greens (spinach, kale, or even Brussel’s sprouts) is a great way to ensure an extra antioxidant boost.  

 

Get a good night’s rest 

 The importance of sleep in the rehabilitation process cannot be overstated. The body relaxes and restores itself while sleeping. After a viral illness, sleep habits might be disrupted. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try going to bed at the same time every night and aim to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep. A warm bath with magnesium salts and lavender oil is another excellent way to prepare for bed and help ensure you get a good night’s sleep. A midday nap has also been found to be beneficial. If you do take a nap, attempt for it to be at the same time each day and only for 20-45 minutes to avoid disrupting your night sleep. 

 

Take supplements that help boost your immune system 

Beyond eating a healthy diet, certain supplements should be considered to ensure your immune system is getting what it needs for a full recovery and to continue to keep you healthy. Ten key nutrients are deemed essential for the normal functioning of the immune system. These include vitamins D, A, C, Folate, B3, and B12 and the minerals zinc, iron, copper, and selenium. These can, of course, be obtained through food, but it can also be a good idea to take a multivitamin supplement if you’re struggling with long Covid to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of these essential immune nutrients. This is especially true for vitamin D as it is believed many people are deficient, especially those living in colder climates. Studies have shown that patients who get Covid-19 with a vitamin D deficiency tend to have higher mortality rates. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D is 600-800 IU/day.  

 

Meditate 

 Mindfulness is a mental state that involves focusing on the present moment and accepting one’s current psychological and physical condition without judgment. Meditation is a proven mental exercise that aids in achieving that state of mind. A recent study finds that a brief daily practice of mindfulness meditation boosts pleasant feelings and protects against the adverse effects of long COVID-19-related news on emotional well-being. 

 

Practice breathwork 

  1. Lie down on your stomach with your head resting on your hands to give yourself more breathing capacity.
  2. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and close your lips.
  3. Draw air down into your stomach by inhaling through your nose. As you breathe, try to concentrate on your stomach pressing into the mattress.
  4. Take a deep breath and slowly exhale through your nose.
  5. Take one minute of deep breaths.

 

Practice pacing for fatigue 

Pacing is a valuable skill that aims to spread out activity with alternating periods of rest. It allows someone suffering from fatigue a way to match energy levels with the task at hand while consciously not overdoing it. Pacing is not necessarily about doing less activity but spreading activities out so that you can complete them more effectively.  

 

REVĪVŌ Retreats are the perfect getaway to combat long Covid 

If you or someone you know are suffering from symptoms of long Covid REVĪVŌ, Bali can help. We have recently developed a retreat program specifically to boost the immune system. And, because all of our retreats are tailor-made, we’re able to offer you the most comprehensive treatments and therapies specific to your individual needs. Visit our website here to find out more and to book a free consultation.  

References:

www.nhs.uk

www.abc.net.au

www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk

www.news-medical.net

Blog written by Kimberly Rose