There are increased reports of persistent & prolonged effects of COVID 19 in people who are officially declared as recovered or who are in the post-Covid phase. It has been observed that the symptoms dawdle even after testing negative for the virus. This condition is referred to as the’ post covid syndrome or long covid’ or ‘Post-acute COVID 19. It has been noted that 25% of people recovered from COVID 19 or 1in 4 people fall victim to this condition.
This condition is a global threat to mankind as the post COVID syndromes are not only seen in critically ill patients but also in those who were moderately or mildly affected. A clear clinical picture of COVID 19 aftermath is vague at best and the exact reason is obscure.
But still, in the light of recent evidence, the causes can be classified as follows-
- Persistent viremia or toxins produced by the viruses or the toxins stagnated in the body and blood which then accumulates the various tissues thereby exhibiting different signs & symptoms.
- Secondly, the Cytokin induced Inflammatory activity continues which is considered as the defense activity of the body as the virus enters. For example, Endocarditis is seen as a post covid syndrome. Similarly, COVID 19 primarily affecting the lungs. & thus making the tissues of the Lungs fibrotic.
COVID 19 shares similarities with auto immune diseases in immune responses & pathogenic mechanisms. There is the development of auto immune disease in COVID 19. The emerging evidence of COVID 19 impact on the brain is concerning. This COVID 19 condition generates certain activities in the brain resulting in Parkinsonism, Alzheimers, memory loss etc in some people.
Even though the above mentioned diseases affecting the respiratory system and the neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and parkinsonism may appear as post covid syndrome yet these are not commonly seen in all those affecting with covid 19.
Let’s look into details of some of the recently acknowledged symptoms of post COVID.
The majority of people exhibit debilitating fatigue as primary symptom. Muscle weakness & fatigue are common in the recovery phase of COVID 19, and thus the person experiences loss of strength. Another common symptom is the pain in the body. Joint pain pertaining to both the extremities & low back pain are also noticed.
Coronavirus wreaks havoc on the mind as well. Insomnia, which is basically the inability to sleep or trouble to fall asleep have been a major complaint of people in the post-COVID phase. Covid 19 has also led to diverse mental issues such as Anxiety, Depression, Post traumatic stress, etc. As the individual lacks social support due to isolation and the need to self-quarantine which later on results in mental trauma. Anosmia (the complete loss of smell) and Ageusia (loss of taste functions of the tongue) are common complaints in patients with COVID 19 and these symptoms may persist for a longer duration. In some persons, these symptoms may prolong for a year. Some people with COVID 19 report having brain fog, symptoms of which include memory problems, lack of mental clarity, poor concentration, confusion, etc.
A high prevalence of pre-existing CVD has been observed among patients with COVID 19 and increased incidence of stroke & CVD are seen in the post COVID phase. The black fungus emerged as a threat amid the ongoing second wave of COVID 19. The black fungus, yellow fungus & white fungus’ are all the subsequent results of COVID 19.
Our Ayurvedic classics have clearly mentioned about Punaravartaka jwara. Even after the fever gets subsided, a person who had suffered from fever wouldn’t have regained his strength back. This means that during the remission period of fever the person has very low strength. If the person indulges in restricted activities during this period, like excessive exercise or excessive copulation, taking bath in cold water, consuming food items which causes indigestion. Features similar to Punaravartaka jwara are seen in the post covid phase. Thus Lakshananusara chikitsa has to be the line of management.
Take sufficient rest & do pranayama and indicated asanas till the person gets assuagement from fatigue. Intake of Ayurvedic medications such as Drakshadi kashayam, Indukantham kashyam , Ashwagandharishta, rasayana preparation such as Chyavanaprasha, etc are advised.
All these medicinal preparations help to mitigate fatigue, aches & pain in the body.
In case of insomnia Ashwagandha, Manasamitra vatakam, are indicated.Therapeutic procedures such a Nasyam, Shiro pichu,Thalam, Shirodhara are adviced. In severe insomnia, relaxing yogasanas like shavasana, makarasana, yoganidra etc proves to be fruitful.
In order to regain the normal smell and taste perception therapeutic procedures such as gandusha,kabala, nasya are indicated. Pranayama, Bhastrika,Kapalbhathi,Suryabhedana pranayama, etc shall be incorporated along with the ayurvedic therapeutic procedures.
Ayurvedic management & administration of medya rasayanas are adviced in case Parkinsonism,Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
Under the guidance of the Indian Systems of Medicine, the Ayur raksha clinics are being activated in government Ayurveda hospitals for implementing programmes like Punarjani which is specific ayurvedic management of patients cured of COVID 19 during the recovery phase. Similarly AMAI have been setting up ayurshield immunity clinics in all private Ayurveda hospitals from where Post covid as well as for mild to moderate illness, related to covid are made possible. It’s not fear, rather it’s careful and calculated preventive measures that can help us out of COVID 19.
Dr. Vishnu Nampoothiry BAMS MD (Ay) PGDYT, MSc Yoga Founder, Chairman, and Medical Director SreeRudra Ayurveda Multispeciality Hospital