What happens when you catch COVID-19? Fever is most likely the first symptom. Body pain follows. Then panic sets in. You don’t know what to do? It takes a while to gather your wits and decide on a PCR test.
The new coronavirus has been around for a year. It has spread to almost every part of the world. And we have been deluged with information on how some people managed to survive the infection; how some medicines and vitamins worked, and how grandma’s remedies helped. We now have vaccines and variants, several of them.
There’s no shortage of information. The virus is no longer a stranger. We know quite a bit about this microbe. But lots more are unknown. Yet, we are better prepared than last year. Our health care systems have learned to cope with it. Quarantine and isolation rules have changed. Even the recovery period has been cut. All these stemmed from more awareness of the behaviour of the virus.
Catch your breath
That’s all fine. But when you are infected, all the advice goes out of the window. People panic. Some experience breathlessness. Most times, it’s stress-induced rather than the pathogen’s attack on the lungs. And when you are stressed, the thought process gets muddled.
I had contracted COVID-19 in April last year. And I have always shared my experience in the hope that it will help others tackle their infection better. But when they are running a high-grade fever and wracked by body pain, all your advice and suggestions are useless.
The first thing I tell them is to calm down. Only then will they understand what I’m saying. When they are in a mood to listen, I ask them to hold their breath for a while. If they don’t have any difficulty, they shouldn’t be worried. I tell them to repeat this exercise whenever they are worried. I remind them that if they ever have breathing difficulty, call an ambulance and get admitted in a hospital. Remember, COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease.
So my coronavirus routine was to start every day with breathing exercises (pranayama in yoga). I would have steam inhalation at least three times a day.
My second advice would be to confirm that it’s a coronavirus infection. All viral fevers have similar symptoms. And common flu too. So it’s important to do a PCR test. Doctors generally prescribe paracetamols, vitamin C and an antibiotic to ward off any secondary bacterial infection. Doctors are the best qualified to treat you, so don’t self-medicate. Coronavirus can be deadly, people shouldn’t take it lightly.
Follow the doctor’s advice. And keep him/her updated. Any worries or changes in symptoms or medical condition has to be intimated to the doctor as early as possible. Don’t wait. Time is of the essence.
Recuperation and recovery
Finally, my most important suggestion: sleep. Rest is important. Sleep as much as possible, and the body will repair itself. I used to drink lots of water too. The recovery generally depends on the severity of the infection. Youngsters will be back on their feet in days. Generally, it would take a week or so. My fever lasted 10 days.
I tell my friends to get back to their routine only after 14 days. You need to regain strength. And a COVID-19 infection saps your energy. The fatigue stays for a while, even though taste and smell return. So rest well, and eat enough to recharge your batteries.
Coronavirus can be beaten if you are healthy. You just have to be calm.