5 Effective ways to Recover from COVID-19

Covid-19 Recap

Covid-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus. SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that emerged in China in December of 2019. It swept the world causing an array of symptoms in different demographics of people. The most compromised groups of individuals have been affected by severe disease. Age and an array of co-morbidities lead to serious complications. Although, there are a group of young individuals that have been seriously affected by covid-19, the majority who have fatal complications are those with immune issues either caused by age or underlying illness.

5 Effective ways to recover from Covid-19 include, but are not limited to:

  • Prevention – eating well and maintaining a healthy weight. Will help thwart off Covid complications by limiting co-morbidities and making sure your immune system is working optimally.
  • Recovering from covid at home with remedies similar to treating the common cold.
  • Recovering from covid in a hospital setting if further medical intervention is needed.
  • If severe medical intervention was used, Physical therapy and cardiorespiratory physiotherapy will be instructed by a professional in order to get your strength back.
  • lastly, physical fitness and a healthy diet will put you at an advantage in the recovery against covid. A life of health and wellness keeps our lungs, heart, and immune systems strong.

Infection Progression

People infected with SARS-CoV-2 show clinical presentation with the following symptoms: [2]

  • respiratory tract infection with influenza-like symptoms
  • fever
  • cough
  • fatigue
  • sputum production
  • dyspnea (trouble breathing)
  • sore throat
  • head ache

The world health organization estimates that 80% of cases are asymptomatic to mild while 20% of cases are severe or fatal.

” what are the long term effects of Covid-19″

It is a little to early to establish long term effects on lung damage from Covid-19 but it is hypothesized that medium to long term damage is to be expected. Studies that investigated previous SARS infections on pulmonary function and exercise capabilities showed impairment of lung function in up to 23% of patients at a 1 year follow up. [2]

Covid-19 Recovery and Physical Fitness

The best way to recover from Covid-19 is to prevent it. If prevention is overcome by infection, health and wellness is the fastest way to get your life back.

In a review article by Rooney S. et al. Evidence from nine articles showed that SARS-CoV-2 patients had reduced levels of physical function and fitness post infection when compared to healthy controls. Evidence from a random controlled trial found a combined aerobic and resistance training intervention significantly improved physical function and fitness post infection [1].

Prevention of Severe Covid-19 disease

As previously stated, The WHO stated that approximately 80% of Covid infected individuals will have an asymptomatic or mild experience while 20% will have a severe reaction. SO… how do you make sure your chances of being one of the 20% is more likely?

Lets first discuss what PREVENTABLE co-morbidities contributes to severe Covid-19 disease?

according to the CDC:

  • Heart conditions (some can be preventable when caused by high fat diets and atherosclerosis)
  • Obesity BMI 30 kg/m2 or higher but less than 40 kg/m2
  • Severe obesity- more than 40 kg/m2
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • smoking

The previous 5 co-morbidities are illness that can be prevented with diet, exercise, and life style changes. Life style changes are the most effective medicine, but its the hardest for people to do.

If you do have the previous co-morbidities, practice prevention strategies that slow the spread while you are working on your health and wellness.

Practice the following prevention techniques if you are at high risk for severe covid-19 disease, or if you are dedicated to help slowing the spread.

Treatment of Covid-19 in a hospital setting

“If prevention fails, how do we recover from Covid-19?”

Physical therapists are considered extremely important in the recovery of severe Covid-19 patients. Intense medical treatment is needed to save the patients affected by severe respiratory disease, this includes but is not limited to:

  • prolonged mechanical ventilation
  • sedation
  • use of neuromuscular blocking agents

This group of patients are at a higher risk for developing intensive care acquired weakness which has long term effects on physical function. [2]

It is so important to give recovering patients very specific instructions and follow up assessments that focus on the patients physical and psychological recovery. In particular cardiorespiratory physiotherapy is imperative in early rehabilitation of severe respiratory disease like the one caused by Covid-19.

  • exercise
  • mobilization
  • rehabilitation

These are the 3 most important steps to building strength after suffering from ICU related weakness; due to extreme measures taken to help individuals survive from Covid-19 illness.

Treatment of Covid-19 at home

If you are one of the lucky 20% of people to only suffer from mild covid disease, you will be able to treat it at home as if you would any other cold.

One thing to remember is- antibiotics will not help you recover from covid! Covid is caused by a virus, not a bacterium. This is the same for the flu.

At home treatment for a fever: [3]

Take a fever reducer. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is recommended to take for Covid-19, there was speculation that ibuprofen (also a fever reducer) may complicate Covid-19. But, there is no substantial evidence that proves this…

Stay hydrated. Even if you do not have Covid, a rule of thumb for life is- STAY HYDRATED, with water that is! nothing sugary… But, if you are suffering from a fever, staying hydrated will help replace fluid loss from sweating.

Rest. Your body needs to rest and recover. It takes a lot of energy for your body to fight infections.

Treatment of a Cough at home: [3]

Sip on drinks throughout the day: keeps you hydrated and helps keep your throat moist and comfortable.

Breathe in steam: Soothe a sore throat and open up airways making it easier to breath

Eat a frozen treat: to soothe a sore throat

Suck on cough drops or hard candy: this will help salivation in order to keep your mouth and throat moist.

Try Cough Medicine or acetaminophen for pain.

Take care of your body, its the only one you have

The most effective way to protect yourself from severe covid-19 disease along with an array of many other diseases, is to take care of your body. Through working out, eating healthy, and taking supplements.

Your immune system functions the best when your body is well nourished. [4]

  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Minimize stress ( meditation, yoga, exercise, etc.)
  • Keep current with vaccinations

“There is evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies- Vitamin C, along with Vitamins E, B6, A, zinc, selenium, iron, copper, and folic acid – alter immune responses[3]

Frequently asked Questions

I live in the North, does being cold give you a week immune system?

There are two reasons why you are more likely to get sick in the winter/colder seasons. 1. People spend more time in doors and in close contact with others and 2. the flu virus tends to stay in the air longer if the air is cold and less humid. It is still being studied whether cold temperatures play a role in a weakened immune system per se.

Why does stress weaken the immune system?

There is a large connection to the brain and the rest of the body. A variety of illness can be linked to stress such as stomach issues, hives, and heart disease. Also, when you are stressed, your body produces a corticosteroid that can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system, this is also true for if you take a steroid as a prescription to reduce inflammation.

What Is the best way to boost your immune system?

Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune boosters, it is believed that when a person is Vitamin C deficient, they are more likely to get sick.

What food are rich in Vitamin C?

Oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli, to name a few!

Which non preventable co-morbidities cause risk for severe Covid-19 disease?

According to the CDC; asthma, cerebrovascular disease, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, immunocompromised state such as HIV or recent organ transplants, Neurologic condition such as dementia, Liver disease, pulmonary fibrosis, Thalassemia, type 1 diabetes.