COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the recently discovered coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus enters the body via nose, mouth and eyes. Some recent studies suggest that virus may be airborne and can be spread through fine infected droplets that remain suspended in the air in closed air-conditioned environments of offices, AC cabs-buses, shopping malls and theatres due to absence of cross-ventilation, even when you are not in direct contact with an infected person. It is essential that, after recovery, a person manages his/her lifestyle in a way that he/she can be in a positive mindset.
Taking care of your emotional wellbeing
The experience of having COVID-19 can be very stressful with fear and anxiety. The disease may impact your emotional wellbeing along with your physical wellbeing. Psychological impact of infection can vary from immediate effects, like:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
- Fear of social stigma.
- Irritability, anger, confusion.
- Frustration, loneliness.
- Denial, anxiety, depression, insomnia, despair.
How to cope with this stress?
Here are some things which you can do cope up the stress, fear and anxiety:
- Take a break from constant watching the news or limit the time for news.
- Stay connected with your loved ones over audio or video calls.
- Re-live your hobbies which you enjoy doing.
- Take adequate rest.
- Maintain healthy diet.
- Do light exercises as your condition permits.
- Do not hide your illness.
- Speak accurately about the risk from COVID-19, based on scientific data and latest official health advice.
- Share positive stories of those who have recovered from COVID-19.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Good nutrition is very important before during and after an infection. While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent COVID-19 infection, maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of supporting a strong immune system. Eat a variety of foods to ensure adequate intake of important nutrients.
Energy-rich foods: These foods are a source of carbohydrates that provides energy to the body. It includes cereals (wheat, rice, maize, etc), fats/oils, sugars
Body building foods: These foods provide protein to the body. Pulses (all dals, beans, legumes), animal foods (eggs, meat, poultry, fish), milk and milk products. Requirements of proteins also increase during infection for the proliferation of immune cells and the synthesis of chemical compounds
Protective foods: These foods are the sources vitamins and minerals that play a significant role in immunity. Seasonal fruits and vegetables (dark green leafy, yellow and orange coloured, citrus, and other fruits). Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, selenium are known to influence the immune responses.
Immunity Boosters: Ayurvedic Immunity Promoting Measures:
- Drink herbal tea / decoction (Kadha) made from Tulsi (Basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Kalimirch (Black pepper), Shunthi (Dry Ginger) & Munakka (Raisin) - once or twice a day. Add Jaggery (natural sugar) and / or fresh lemon juice to your taste, if needed.
- Golden Milk- Half tea spoon Haldi (turmeric) powder in 150 ml hot milk - once or twice a day.
- Add Ginger and Garlic to cooking.
- Drink warm to normal water and keep hydrated.
- Do not skip meals and divide your daily calories in to 5-6 small meals.
- Use whole grain cereals, whole grams and pulses, whole wheat porridge, whole wheat bread, oats etc. to incorporate fiber in your diet.
- Supplement wheat with whole channa and do not sieve flour (wheat and channa 4:1 ratio). Mix rice with whole grams or dals in a ratio of 1:1 to incorporate fiber.
- Consume at least 4-5 servings of fresh green vegetables and fruits/day.
- Use olive /canola/ rice bran / soy /mustard oil. Change oils in couple of months.
- Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds are good sources of antioxidants include in everyday diet.
- Water intake: 2 litres/day
- Limit intake of excess salt, processed and preserved foods
- Avoid eating from out
- Restrict alcohol, tobacco and smoking.
An adult with no pre-existing disease and with no co-morbities (like hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiac disease) have a 2000 calorie diet plan.
Persons with any co-morbity and any underlying condition should take consultation from professional (Doctor/ Dietician/ Nutritionist) for their individualized diet plan.
• Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Guidelines
• WHO guidebook for Support for Rehabilitation Self-Management after COVID19- Related Illness
• US- Centre for disease Control (CDC)