If you've been infected by the coronavirus, follow these steps to take care of your lungs.
It’s been almost a year, since the outbreak of Covid-19, but the new developments to understand the viral infection are still ongoing. If a person recovers from Covid-19, there are sufficient chances that their body will build immunity to prevent from contracting the virus again. However, there remains a possibility for re-infection. Amongst the most susceptible individuals are: old-age people, those who tends to avoid preventive measures against immune defensive mechanism. Hence, post-Covid care is important for them. So far as we know Covid-19 is more than just a respiratory illness. Pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome is some of the complications that the novel coronavirus can cause in the lungs. This damage in many cases last for several month post-Covid-19 infection.
There may be chances of lung complications such as pneumonia and, in the most severe cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS - a form of lung failure which could be fatal too. Many patients even face frequent congestion or breathing issues (shortness of breath/breathlessness). They are unable to breathe themselves. Thus are advised to have an oxygen facility available at their residence or to continue with nebulisation.
Here are a few remedies that you can opt to regain lungs health post covid-19.
• Cut down on excess intake of heat flushing food
The treatment medications used in Covid-19 are quite difficult to digest which causes severe digestion and congestion issues. Few patients even develop mouth sores or throat pain. In this case, foods like concentrated kaadhas, cinnamon, tulsi, excess dry fruits, and spicy food should be avoided.
• Take adequate protein
A protein-rich diet can help repair damaged tissues of lungs. It makes up for the muscle loss-weakness that occurred during the Covid infection, and also boosts the immune system Include a portion of protein-rich foods, like pulses, legumes, peanuts, milk (low fat), yoghurt, cheese, soy, eggs, fish and chicken, in each meal (at least 1 portion). Your overall intake of protein should be between 60-80grams per day. People with kidney ailments, need to consult before raising their protein intake.
Our body tends to lose a lot of fluid due to the infection and fever. It is necessary to cover up the loss by taking excess liquids. Drink eight to ten glasses of water every day and include soups, broths, herbal sauna teas, lemon water, diluted kasha with 10-20 percent concentration, coconut water etc. in your diet.
• Two servings of fruits a day, keeps a doctor away.
Fruits like orange, sweet lime, apple, guava, kiwi, papaya help to increase hydration, and improve digestion.
Though, a low-cal diet is great for when you’re trying to lose weight, but you want the exact opposite after suffering from Covid-19 infection. More calories mean more energy to fight off the infection and the ability to recover faster. So include calorie-dense foods in your diet but make sure they’re healthy carbs and not empty ones. Opt for whole grains, potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, milk, avocados, jaggery and roasted chana.
• Quite smoking
After Covid-19, lungs are already quite damaged and should be avoided from any kind of further additional stress or infection caused due to smoking
• Deep breathing exercise
Research suggests that deep breathing, even for just a few minutes, can be beneficial for your lungs. It helps clear the lungs as well as creates a full oxygen exchange which further promotes healing.
(The author is a lifestyle coach and diet counsellor. She tweets @Bipasha1sugati)