By Sarah Halfpenny
Most people who develop COVID can safely recover at home, but just because the symptoms are ‘mild’ enough to keep you out of hospital doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly. Having been through the COVID wringer at the start of 2022 and coming out the other side, I now know some of the best ways to offer help to others going through it…
Know the signs
Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny and/or blocked nose, brain fog, shortness of breath, dizziness, chills, night sweats, nausea, diarrhoea, muscle aches, and loss or change in taste and smell. Be alert for any one of these coming on suddenly – mine started with a runny nose out of the blue – that way you can be ready to get tested and isolate as soon as possible and hopefully prevent other people from contracting the virus.
Having a stash of Panadol and Ibuprofen in the house is essential, plus many people have reported benefits from taking Vitamins C, D and Zinc daily to help support the immune system. It’s also desirable to have a thermometer and a finger pulse oximeter (to measure your blood oxygen levels – inexpensive versions are available from most chemists) on hand so you can keep track of your symptoms and report worsening indicators to your GP if necessary. Also stock up on non-perishable food items and household supplies so they’re close at hand.
Rest and hydrate
The rules for recovery from this virus could not be simpler – do as little as possible and keep up your fluids! Fever and diarrhoea can quickly dehydrate you so the aim is to drink at least 2 to 2.5 litres of water day – have a water bottle constantly on hand, suck on icy poles, eat broth soups, or have cups of tea or isotonic sports drinks like Gatorade. Listen to your body, and if you still have an appetite (some people don’t) then go with your cravings – I constantly wanted to drink orange juice and eat chicken while I was recovering.
Just as the severity of the symptoms can vary from person to person, so can the duration. Although current Australian guidelines are to isolate for 7 days, I isolated for 14 because my symptoms worsened after the first week (apparently quite common) and I simply didn’t feel well enough to be in public or do anything even slightly demanding. Those extra days of total rest (apart from gentle walking around the house and doing basic household duties) made all the difference and finally by Day 14 I awoke feeling completely better. Over exertion post-COVID is also being looked at as a factor for people developing ‘long COVID’ – even more of a reason to make sure you take it easy!
Ask for help
There are so many ways to get help these days – order your groceries online, ask your pharmacy to deliver medication, and if you live alone definitely reach out to family and friends so they can check in on you and be alert for the fact you may need to call them. Food delivery services are a god-send during isolation as cooking is usually the last thing you feel like doing. I will forever be indebted to the kindness of some close friends who dropped off homemade meals or ordered food deliveries or just checked in with daily messages during my iso. This will be one of your most significant times of need, so don’t be shy to ask for help to get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.