Post Covid-19: Side Effects & Recovery
By Hooi Hilynn and Lim Jia Wen (BAC Apprentices)
The Covid situation in Malaysia is getting better, and the number of Covid-19 cases are finally at 4 digits. We are also welcoming news where the recovery number is higher than our daily cases. Soon enough, people will be able to cross states after almost a year.
However, we must be mindful that a lot of people in our country have suffered from Covid-19 and many of them have experienced, or are experiencing long-term side effects. Usually, patients who had Covid-19 tend to recover within 10 days to 2 weeks. Unfortunately, there are some people who have been exhibiting symptoms for more than 4 weeks or even months. This group of people have been overlooked, as the medical fraternity is occupied at attempting to keep hospitalisation rates low, and those who developed severe symptoms alive.
More often than not, these lingering side effects are mild. The more common long- term side effects include fatigue, shortness of breath and coughing. Sadly, there are people who has experienced or are experiencing more severe side effects such as headache, joint pain, insomnia, changes to sense of smell or taste, among others.
Despite having information on how we can prevent ourselves from contracting the Covid-19 virus and caring for ourselves when we are suffering from the disease, there is a lack of knowledge about the long-term symptoms.
Since the disease is becoming endemic and many are fully vaccinated, it is important to be informed on the severity of this disease, and we must continue to remain vigilant when we are out. There is still a lack of research on these long-term side effects, and why they persist even after several months of “recovering” from Covid-19.
Here are some useful tips you may need for post-recovery.
If you consistently suffer from fatigue, the following steps may help you.
- Plan to do the most important task when you expect to have the most energy, typically in the morning.
- Always allow yourself to take breaks throughout the day when you feel tired.
- Practise some light exercises such as yoga and a walk after dinner.
If breathing difficulties plague you, try to do breathing exercises that would help strengthen your lungs. Meanwhile, if you are not sleeping well, improving your sleep habits would offer you a recourse. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, limiting your screen time before bed and avoiding any caffeine and alcohol late in the day.
If you develop anxiety and depression, always look for loved ones to surround you for support, or you may need medicine or counselling.
All this may alleviate your suffering to a certain extent. However, if the symptoms appear to continue, you may have to seek professional medical treatment. One last important note to bear in mind, being infected does not indicate that vaccination is of no value. You still must get your vaccination to prevent reinfection and continue to practice the preventive measures including wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and washing your hands regularly.