Light at the End of the Tunnel: What To do If You Get Sick
Author: Sierra Klotz, DPT, ATC Physical Therapist & Athletic Trainer
Now is the time when the state is expecting a surge in the number of people who come down with covid-19. Here are some tips that will hopefully prove helpful if you start to feel ill. Along with the tips below, it is important to contact your primary care provider to find out if you need a test and determine together if you need more serious medical care.
1. Get Organized. If you have symptoms of the virus, it is important that nobody in your household go into public places. There is a good chance that everyone in the house has contracted the illness. At this point, set up or have a loved one coordinate a grocery delivery to your doorstep either by a friend, friendly neighbor or family member who lives nearby. There are also many groups on Front Porch Forum of volunteers who are doing grocery shopping for those who cannot go out. There also may be grocery stores or restaurants in your area that do delivery to your house. This is a good option as well. This strict quarantine should last for fourteen days or for seven days after your symptoms resolve.
2. Sleep. Sleep and rest are very important when you feel ill. This is what your body craves in order to recover. If you are having a difficult time sleeping, avoid all screens within two hours of going to bed and drink chamomile tea before bed. Doing some of the exercises below may also help to get to sleep. It is also a good idea to take many naps throughout the day. Research studies have indicated that sleeping longer helps us fight off infection and recover from various illnesses (Increased Sleep Promotes Survival during a Bacterial Infection in Drosophila. Williams et al)
3. Drink Hot Liquids. It is especially important for respiratory illnesses such as this one to drink or eat plenty of hot liquids including teas and soups. Honey has also been shown to be beneficial for coughing, so this can be good to add to hot tea. Peppermint is also a natural expectorant, which means that it helps to loosen mucus, so that it can be cleared out of your lungs. (5 Natural Expectorants to Kill your Cough, Medline) Also, according to several studies, chicken soup helps clear nasal congestion, clears mucus and has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. (WebMD)
4. Let the Sun Shine! If it is a sunny day, open your blinds and let the sunlight stream in. Pioneering nurse, Florence Nightengale once wrote, “It is the unqualified result of all my experience with the sick, that second only to their need of fresh air is their need of light…And that it is not only light but direct sun-light they want.” We now know that increased sunlight exposure can shorten hospital stays and improve healing. (Sunlight is the best Medicine. Dr. Micheal Terman) Research has found that the coronavirus is more sensitive to heat, as the temperature increases above 39.2 degrees fahrenheit, the warmer temperatures kill the virus. The sunlight will add warmth, but it also may be important to raise your thermostat higher than you normally keep it. Cntechpost
5. Do Gentle Exercises. When you are cooped up in the house all day, sitting or lying down, it is easy for muscles to get tight and stiff. Keep in mind that muscle achiness may be an effect from the illness, but it can help your muscles feel better to do these gentle stretches. All of these can be done right in your bed. The first is child’s pose or prayer position, where you sit back on your heels and reach forward towards the ground or the bed. Hold for 5 deep breaths. Then, reach your hands to the left. Hold this for 5 breaths and then reach to the right. Next, lie on your back and lift your leg as high as you can while keeping your knee straight to stretch your hamstrings. Gently bring the leg across the body until you feel the stretch on the outside of your hip. Hold it there for 5 deep breaths. Now, while lying on your back bring both knees in towards your chest. This can help to relax your internal organs and decrease low back pain and achiness. Together, these exercises should give some gentle relief to help your recovery.