A: Here are some self-care tips from our visiting scholar, Dr. Maya Clark-Cutaia. Dr. Clark-Cutaia is a nurse practitioner and researcher who has triaged thousands of patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in the last 18 months.
Perhaps you are experiencing fevers, cough, shortness of breath, congestion, headache, sore throat. Maybe you have some nausea or diarrhea. The below tips help manage the symptoms associated with viral illnesses.
Contain the spread. Try to minimize contact with the people in your home. Do not go out to public places like work, school, or stores. Wipe down common surfaces like doorknobs and the bathroom. Wash your hands frequently. Wear your mask when in common areas together.
Rest. The adage is true. Your body is working hard to fight off the virus—give your body time to recover.
Walk. You don’t need to walk a mile, but you should keep moving. Just get up a couples times a day and walk about your house. This helps with lung expansion, keeping your bowels moving, and blood flowing!
Hydrate. While many have changes in taste, smell, and appetite—please make sure that you are drinking plenty. You are striving to have urine that looks more like lemonade and less like beer. Pro tip—drink chicken, beef, vegetable broth if you do not have an appetite for food. Pedialyte, Smart Water, and Gatorade can help replace electrolytes lost from sweating or diarrhea for example, as well. Warm liquids with honey can also soothe sore throats and coughing.
Control your fever. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and Acetaminophen are OK! Data has emerged that there is no association between these medications and COVID-19 severity. These medications can reduce fevers and reduce headache and muscle aches.
While many fear the unknown and hospitalization, red flags that should trigger immediate medical care include:
1. Shortness of breath that does not improve with rest.
2. Unable to speak in full sentences because you are short of breath.
3. Crushing chest pain.
4. Unable to hold down any fluids
5. New or worsening confusion
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to seek medical care. You may even call your primary care doctor to let them know you tested positive as there may be additional local resources in place.
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