It is said that many people who have recovered from acute COVID-19 illness continue to report a wide variety of signs and symptoms including fatigue, body ache, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, etc. weeks after being discharged from hospitals. The recovery period may be longer for patients with a severe form of the disease and those with pre-existing illnesses. However, there is limited evidence of post-COVID ailments and research is being actively pursued is this regard. Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry has prepared a holistic approach for follow up care and well-being of all post-COVID recovering patients. Also Read – COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed in U.S. by year end: Pfizer CEO
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare issued a new ‘Post Covid-19 Management Protocol’ for patients who have recovered from the deadly infection. Apart from the medication recommended by allopathic doctors, the Health Ministry also encouraged taking immunity promoting AYUSH medicine like chyawanprash, turmeric milk, mulethi powder, Ashwagandha, amla fruit, Ayush Kwath, giloy, etc. Also Read – Amit Shah re-admitted to AIIMS: Most common after-effects of COVID-19 to watch out for
The Health Ministry cautioned that this approach is meant for managing patients who have recovered enough from COVID for care at home and should not be used as preventive or curative therapy. Here are the post-COVID follow up care tips as suggested by the Health Ministry. Also Read – Indian Pharma company gets DCGI nod for human trial of new COVID-19 drug, Baladol
At individual level
A recovered person should continue to use a face mask, maintain hand and respiratory hygiene, and practice physical distancing.
“Drink an adequate amount of warm water and take immunity promoting AYUSH medicine on the prescription of a qualified practitioner of AYUSH. Regular housework can be done if health permits. Professional work must be resumed in a graded manner,” the guidelines said.
It also suggested recovered patients to do mild to moderate forms of exercise — such as Yogasana, Pranayama and Meditation, breathing exercises (as prescribed by treating physician), and daily morning or evening walks — as much as health permits. Other points mentioned in the document include:
- Eat a balanced nutritious diet, preferably easy to digest freshly cooked soft
- Get adequate sleep and rest
- Avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol
- Take regular medication for COVID and also for managing comorbidities, as per doctors recommendations
- Monitor temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse, etc. at home
- In case of persistent dry cough/sore throat, do saline gargles and take steam inhalation. Cough medications should be taken on the advice from a medical doctor or qualified practitioners of Ayush.
- Watch out for early warning signs like high-grade fever, breathlessness, unexplained chest pain, new onset of confusion, focal weakness.
At the level of community
The Ministry urged the recovered individuals to share their positive experiences with their friends and relatives for creating awareness and dispelling myths and stigma surrounding the disease.
If required, recovered patients can seek mental health support services. They should also seek psycho-social support from peers, community health workers, and counselor – the Ministry guidelines said.
In a healthcare facility setting, a patient is advised to go for the first follow-up visit (physical or telephonic) within 7 days after discharge, preferably at the hospital where a person underwent COVID19 treatment.
Subsequent follow-up visits maybe with the nearest qualified allopathic/AYUSH practitioner/medical facility of other systems of medicine, as per the document.
But one should avoid poly-therapy due to the potential for an unknown drug-drug interaction, which may lead to Serious Adverse Events (SAE) or Adverse Effects (AE), the Ministry noted in the post COVID management protocol.