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., the Union Health Ministry has said, admitting that as of now there is limited evidence of post-COVID-19 sequelae and further research is required.
It adds that 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.
In its post-COVID-19 management protocol released here on Sunday, the Ministry says that the first follow-up visit (physical/telephonic) for a recovered patient should be within seven days after discharge, preferably at the hospital where he/she underwent treatment.
Subsequent treatment/follow-up visits may be with the nearest qualified allopathic/AYUSH practitioner/medical facility of other systems of medicine. Poly-therapy (use of multiple medications) is to be avoided due to potential for unknown drug-drug interaction, which may lead to Serious Adverse Events (SAE) or Adverse Effects (AE).
The patients who have undergone home isolation, if they complain of persisting symptoms, will have to visit the nearest health facility and severe cases requiring critical care support will require more stringent follow-up.
It has also advocated for a holistic approach for follow-up care and well-being of all post-COVID-19 recovering patients.
Offering an integrated holistic approach for managing patients who have recovered enough from COVID-19 or care at home, the Ministry notes that “It is also suggested by the Ministry of AYUSH that the use of Chyawanprash in the morning (1 teaspoonful) with lukewarm water/milk is highly recommended (under the direction of Registered Ayurveda physician) as in the clinical practice Chyawanprash is believed to be effective in post-recovery period.’’
“Immunity promoting AYUSH medicine (to be prescribed only by practitioners permitted under law for prescribing the medicine/therapy under specific stream) including Ayush Kwath, Samshamani vati, or Giloy powder, Ashwagandha, Amla fruit one daily/Amla powder etc., have also been recommended,’’ says the Ministry.
COVID–19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus is relatively a new disease, with fresh information being known on a dynamic basis about the natural history of the disease, especially in terms of post-recovery events, it says.
“This latest document is not meant to be used as preventive/curative therapy. Post-COVID continue using mask, hand & respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, drink adequate amount of warm water (if not contra-indicated) and if health permits regular household work to be done. Professional work to be resumed in graded manner,” notes the document.
It adds that recovered patients should look for early warning signs such as high grade fever, breathlessness, drop in oxygen levels, unexplained chest pain, new onset of confusion, focal weakness.
The Ministry has also adds that at a community level recovered individuals should share their positive experiences with their friends and relatives using social media, community leaders, opinion leaders, religious leaders for creating awareness, dispelling myths and stigma.
“Take support of community based self-help groups, civil society organisations, and qualified professionals for recovery and rehabilitation process (medical, social, occupational, livelihood). Seek psycho-social support from peers, community health workers, counsellors. If required seek mental health support service and participate in group sessions of yoga, meditation etc. while taking all due precautions like physical distancing,’’ said the Ministry.