The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Recovering from Covid, Pt 1

We all know our loved ones are often better off at home than in a hospital where the staff may not know how to treat their LBD-related symptoms safely. This does not mean you should try to treat your loved one’s Covid at home without a doctor’s guidance or that you should avoid using hospitalization when needed. However, with hospitals as crowded as they are, doctors are often encouraging home care and you may be faced with this task. If you are dealing with Covid yourself, you may also be dealing with it at home. The same goes for you as for your loved one. Don't try to treat yourself at home without a doctor's guidance.  Of course, if you have Covid  someone else needs to care for your loved one until you aren't contagious. (Yes, I know. This is often a difficult thing to make happen but it is still critical.)

The following list about "fighting Covid at home" has been circulating online and it's likely you've already seen it. A woman who had Covid and was being discharged from the hospital to finish recovering asked what she could do to fight the virus at home. Her doctor gave her this list. I liked the concept but decided I should check it out a bit before I passed it on. I found that there are several issues with it. I've left but crossed out the items that aren't supported by science and added comments in italics.

Your loved one may not be able to do some of even the more helpful  things or may need your help. But first, let me reiterate, this is for someone who has been treated for Covid and sent home to recover—not someone who is trying to avoid Covid.
  • Sleep on your stomach to give your lungs more room to work and prevent fluid from setting in.(No evidence that this benefits (or harms) a person who does not already require ventilation. And if you are that sick, you need to be in a hospital!)
  • Set your alarm for every two hours, then get out of bed and walk for 15-30 min, no matter how tired or weak that you are. (Getting adequate sleep is also important. Most seniors need to get up several times a night anyway. Instead of setting an alarm, use these times to do some extra walking. However, if that little bit of exercise tires you out or makes you feel winded, it can be a sign that pneumonia may be developing. Call the doctor!)
  • Breathe in thru your nose, and out thru your mouth. This will help build up your lungs, plus help get rid of excess fluid in your lungs. (Only important if you were sent home from the hospital recovering from Covid-related pneumonia.)
  • Move your arms around frequently, it helps to open your lungs. (However, it is important not to overdo. Exercise only as much as you can do without feeling out of breath.)
  • While watching TV - get up and walk during every commercial. (As above, exercise is good as long as it doesn’t tire you out or cause shortness of breath.)
  • When sitting in a recliner, sit up straight. (This helps your lungs work better.)
Next week's blog will finish this with some suggestions for diet and nutrition. Bottom line for this segment is to keep active without overdoing and use your posture to help your lungs function as well as they can.

Two other things: 1. In view of how much of the original online post was not scientifically supported or incomplete , check out what you read, especially online, before you accept it as fact! 2. Remember that this is about  how to help your body (or your loved one's body) recover once Covid has been identified and treated, not how to avoid it!

For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

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