Chyawanprash, yoga, breathing exercises: Health Ministry's post-COVID care guidelines
The Union Ministry of Health on Sunday issued guidelines for post-COVID management. The guidelines provide an "integrated holistic approach for managing patients who have recovered enough from COVID for care at home," the Ministry noted. Thus far, India has reported over 47.5 lakh confirmed cases of COVID-19 after a series of record single-day spikes the past week. Here are more details.
'Recovered COVID-19 patients may continue to experience fatigue, body ache'
In its document outlining the guidelines, the Ministry noted, "After acute COVID-19 illness, recovered patients may continue to report a wide variety of signs and symptoms including fatigue, body ache, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, etc.," adding there is "limited evidence" of post-COVID sequalae. "A holistic approach is required for follow-up care and well-being of all post-COVID recovering patients," it said.
'Post-COVID care not to be considered preventive/curative therapy'
The Health Ministry cautioned, "[The document] is not meant to be used as preventive/curative therapy. The recovery period is likely to be longer for patients who suffered from a more severe form of the disease and those with pre-existing illness."
Post-COVID protocol for individuals
At the individual level, the document recommended the continuation of COVID-appropriate behavior such as wearing face masks, physical distancing, etc. It recommended drinking warm water, if not contraindicated. It also said individuals should practice mild/moderate exercise such as taking walks, yoga, breathing exercises, etc. "If health permits, regular household work to be done. Professional work to be resumed in graded manner," the document stated.
Post-COVID protocol for individuals
The document recommended following a balanced nutritious diet, taking adequate rest, and avoiding smoking/consumption of alcohol. Regular medications for COVID-19 should be taken as advised. Individuals are advised to monitor their symptoms (check temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.) at home. They should be mindful of "early warning signs" such as high-grade fever, breathlessness, chest pain, oxygen saturation under 95%, etc.
Document also recommended immunity promoting AYUSH medicine
The document recommended taking immunity promoting AYUSH medicine, such as one teaspoonful of Chyawanprash in the morning with lukewarm water/milk (under the direction of a Registered Ayurveda physician). Other remedies include consuming warm milk with half a teaspoonful turmeric powder (morning/evening), gargling with turmeric and salt, 1-3 grams of mulethi powder in lukewarm water twice daily if an individual experiences a dry cough, etc.
Post-COVID protocol at community level
The document recommended recovered COVID-19 patients to share their experiences with friends/relatives, or through social media, to spread awareness and reduce the stigma. People have been recommended to seek psychosocial support from peers, community health workers, counselors, or mental health support services if required. Group sessions of yoga and meditation have also been recommended, provided health precautions like physical distancing are followed.
Post-COVID protocol at healthcare facility
The first follow-up visit (physical/telephonic) should be within 7 days after discharge, preferably at the hospital where one received treatment. Severe patients require a more stringent follow-up. Subsequent treatment/follow-up visits may be with the nearest qualified allopathic/AYUSH practitioner/medical facility of other systems of medicine. However, polytherapy should be avoided. Home-isolated patients should visit the nearest healthcare facility if symptoms persist.
How bad is the outbreak in India?
According to the Union Health Ministry, till 8 am on Sunday, India reported 47,54,356 COVID-19 cases after witnessing a spike of 94,372 fresh infections in the past 24 hours. This marks the fourth consecutive day that daily new cases rose above 90,000. Out of the total cases, 9,73,175 are active infections while 37,02,595 patients have recovered. The death toll has risen to 78,586.