Long COVID is the term that is used to describe a wide range of symptom’s that occur after the initial COVID-19 infection and can last for weeks or months. A UK systematic review has highlighted 55 different long-term effects. Some of the most common effects appear to be fatigue, chest problems, brain fog, joint pain and stomach problems. About 1 in 10 still have ongoing symptoms 12 weeks after the initial infection.
Although there is little research on therapies for management of long COVID, Yoga and breathing techniques, nutrition, reflexology and other complementary therapies have been found to be effective in the treatment of long COVID. A review of post-acute COVID treatments, published in the BMJ recommends “breath control” techniques similar to Ujjayi breath and pranayama (Yoga breathing) that use breath retention to help improve coughing and breathlessness.
Gentle restorative yoga can be effective in reducing stress, improving fatigue and sleep patterns. Relaxation and meditation can improve concentration and reduce anxiety.
As with all health issues a good nutritional diet is paramount in helping us to heal the body. Go for a diet that is high in fruit and vegetables, healthy grains and less processed foods. Some doctors are suggesting a low histamine diet can help, although there is a lack of evidence to support this. A low histamine diet should only be followed under the supervision of a dietitian or registered nutritionist.
Key Tips for management of long-COVID
- Keep hydrated.
- Eat a healthy diet, avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and highly processed foods.
- Eat little and often.
- Use supplements if you are not consuming enough nutrients.
- Try some very gentle exercise such as yin yoga or short walks.
- Use sleep hygiene routines to improve quality of sleep and take naps during the day if necessary.
- Use breathing techniques daily such as breath retention breathing.
- Try 5 min daily meditation to help with stress, tiredness and brain fog.
- Try alternative therapies like reflexology or acupuncture.
- Allow the body time to heal, be patient.
- Seek medical advice for ongoing problems.