Long Covid And You
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fearless.
Elisa Perego an archeologist at University of London first used the term Long COVID in May 2020. It is observed that the person who is suffering with more serious form of COVID – 19 will suffer with symptoms longer than others who suffered with milder form of COVID – 19. Long covid is a condition characterized by long – term consequences persisting or appearing after the typical convalescence period of COVID – 19. It is also called post – COVID – 19 condition, post – COVID – 19 syndrome, chronic COVID syndrome. According to center for disease control and prevention common symptoms of long COVID are many but commonly reported (CDC), include fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, anosmia (loss of smell), parosmia (distorted smell), muscle weakness, low fever and cognitive dysfunction. Generally it is believed and CDC also says that long covid symptoms last for four week to few months after getting covid-19.
Causes of Long COVID
Long COVID could be due to persistent inflammatory reaction or organ damage. Risk factors include:
• Severe COVID – 19.
• High blood pressure.
• Diabetes mellitus.
• Immune suppression.
• Old age.
• Take care.
Common symptoms of Long COVID
Commonest organ involved in COVID – 19 is lung so long term breathing problems are most common symptoms COVID can also involve brain, heart and kidneys. Multiorgan involvement is a serious problem and most of these cases develop long COVID. Other symptoms of long COVID are:
• Disturbed memory.
• Sleep disturbances.
• Chronic cough.
• Sore throat.
• Agitation, anger and anxiety.
• Increased alcohol and drug use.
• Loss of smell.
• Loss of taste.
How to tackle Long Covid
• Avoid being a couch potato, do physical activity.
• WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of intense physical activity per week.
• Use relaxation techniques like deep abdominal breathing, meditation, visualization and yoga.
• Keep yourself hydrated.
• Breathing exercises can help to improve lung function.
• Eat nutritious diet.
• Avoid alcohol.
• Eat fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods.
• Eat oranges, bananas, apple, broccoli cauliflower, cabbage, and green leafy vegetables. Healthy eating improves the function of immune system.
• Avoid sitting for long periods in office, get up after every 30 minutes and walk 3 minutes at least. It’s a 3:30 formula to face long COVID.
Deep Abdominal Breathing
When we are in stress we breathe from the chest and it is shallow breathing. When we breathe from the diaphragm (abdominal), it is deep breathing. Shallow or chest breathing doesn’t utilise 10-15 percent of lung capacity, so there is less oxygen in the blood, and also less vitality and freshness.
• Stand or sit or lie down.
• Inhale deeply from the diaphragm, pushing out the abdomen without moving your chest and count 1, 2, 3, 4 slowly in your mind while inhaling.
• Hold your breath by counting 1 to 16 in your mind.
• Exhale by pushing the abdomen in and not moving the chest and counting from 1 to 8 in your mind.
• Repeat it five times.
Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person’s physical, emotional and mental states. It is easy to learn and can be useful for treating stress and pain. It keeps the attention focused o the present. It is neither about reacting to past events or being preoccupied with future places.
Interest in meditation has increased phenomenally worldwide due to its health benefits. At the Maharishi University School in lowa, USA, students are required to regularly meditate twice a day. Celebrities like Goldie Hawn, Shania Twain, Heather Graham, Richard Gere and Al Gore have, at some time or the other, practiced meditation regularly. Being role models, they encourage friends and fans to take up the practice too.
Meditation requires personal tranquility, a feeling of mental solitude and a quiet, secluded spot. To begin with, sit in a comfortable position or lie supine on the floor in a silent room. Next, relax your body and try to release it of all tension so that the limbs and torso become completely limp. Alternatively, get into any posture which you find comfortable. Then, close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing, observing the movement of air as it goes in and out of the nose. Continue this till the mind almost shuts itself out from all outside stimuli and sensations.
Gradually concentrate by gently rejecting or turning away from any thought coming to your mind. Next, concentrate on an object like a flower, or a symbol like Om.
This is what I do next: I begin by first inhaling deeply and holding the breath while I visualize the symbol Om and trace out its form in my mind’s eye, starting from the top curl to the bottom and end by tracing the dot and arc under it on the top. Having done this imaging, which takes approximately 15 to 20 seconds at the most, I slowly exhale, holding the same image till the very end. Then, I repeat the same process about 10 times, the whole thing taking about six to eight minutes. My advice to beginners, therefore, would be to gradually increase the duration of holding their breath from 40 seconds to a minute.
Mayo Clinic, USA, suggests that although COVID – 19 is such as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can also damage many other organs, including the heart, kidney, and the brain. Organ damage may lead to health complications after COVID – 19 illnesses. In some people, lasting health effects may include long term breathing problems, heart complications, chronic kidney impairment, stroke, and Guillen – Barrie syndrome – a condition that causes temporary paralysis…. Many medical centers are opening specialized clinics to provide care for people who have persistent symptoms or related illnesses after they recover for COVID-19.
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