Even in the midst of quarantine, we are all susceptible to getting a cold! It can be tough to determine the right steps to take to return to normalcy. That is especially true during these unprecedented times.
Here's the five things you need to know if you're recovering from an illness today:
1.) Take it slow. When your body defends against an infection, it uses an inflammatory process to get an influx of fighter cells to the right area. The redness and warmth that cause an itchy throat and runny nose are actually side effects of fresh, healthy blood rushing to the rescue. Your body is working over-time in defense and it's inadvisable to be pushing your limits physically during this time. Your body can only do so much!
2.) Return to Activities of Daily Living. This is the first step upon recovery from a cold. If you've been laying on the couch and ordering take-out every day, perhaps cooking a meal is a step in the right direction. While you don't want to jump into your usual routine right away, activities of daily living (ADL's) from home like cooking, cleaning, and getting showered and dressed (no more PJ's) can help you feel healthy again without stressing your body too much right off the bat.
3.) Return to Work. If you are managing your ADLs well without significant fatigue or stress, you may want to consider returning to the office as the next step. Keep in mind that you do not want to spread your illness. The CDC recommends that you wait at least 24 hours after your fever has disappeared or about 4-5 days after the onset of symptoms. Upon returning to the office, progress into your activities there the same way you did at home. Save the more active duties for a day or two into your return.
4.) Return to Exercise. Re-integrating exercise into your routine should be one of the last steps in recovery if you want to mitigate the risk of injury. When you do return to exercise, review Step 1 and take it slow! Lyndsay Trefzger, a healthcare provider with Briotix Health, recommends the following equation, "Count out the number of days you were out due to your illness. Take that number and multiply by 1.5. Then use that number to determine the number of days you should take to progress back into your regular routine.
Start with very light exercise the first day and work your way back into it in a modular fashion. If anything leaves you with significant fatigue or stress, you know you are pushing it too hard and need to take a step back." Using this model, someone who has been off of their exercise routine for six days due to illness should progress back into their regular training schedule over nine days. If they are a runner, they may start with walking and then increase their intensity and mileage over those nine days. ProTip: Don't forget to include extra amounts of stretching during this time! Your muscles and joints are sure to be stiff after several days of laying low.
5.) Special Considerations for COVID19. Though it's been plaguing us since the end of last year, Coronavirus is relatively new. While the medical community is working together on creating standards for infection prevention, treatment, and recovery, take extra precautions for yourself during this time! For the most up-to-date recommendations from the CDC, go here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/index.html
It is generally accepted that your immune system may be stronger after a cold against the same infection- but may be more susceptible to a new one. Common cold recovery is NOT the time to take risks during the pandemic. Stay safe! Download this article here.