How to Help Your Body and Immune System Recover From Covid-19
It can take a while to feel like yourself again. Here’s how to encourage healing.
It’s virtually impossible to know how many people have recovered from Covid-19 because of inadequate testing, but one estimate is 18% of those who’ve contracted the disease, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. That number doesn’t take into account the countless people who weren’t tested and recovered at home, so it may be much higher. It’s also complicated by how the CDC classifies “recovery.”
According to the CDC, a person is considered recovered from Covid-19 when they test negative on two FDA-authorized tests spaced at least 24 hours apart, or if three days have passed since their fever broke without the use of fever-reducing medications, their respiratory symptoms improved, and it’s been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared.
The problem is, “improved” does not equal resolved, and fever and respiratory symptoms are only the tip of the iceberg of what many Covid-19 patients experience. “This infection causes remarkable inflammation that directly affects the lungs and could rapidly affect multiple other vital organs, affecting the whole body,” says Andres Romero, MD, an infectious disease specialist who’s been on the front lines of fighting Covid-19 at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “So even after the virus is gone, this inflammatory state will take some time to completely disappear.” This is why many people continue to experience symptoms long after their fever breaks.
The other issue complicating recovery is all the unknowns. Because doctors are still learning about how Covid-19 affects the body, there is no standardized guidance on how to approach post-infection care. “I usually tell my patients that they will need two days to recover for every day they spend at the hospital,” says Romero.
But what if you’ve been recovering at home for weeks and still don’t feel 100%? Or you are pretty…