Tested positive for COVID?  Take it easy - try not to rush back to work or exercise

Tested positive for COVID? Take it easy – try not to rush back to work or exercise

With COVID isolation rules largely gone, some people feel pressured to rush back to work, school, or other activities after testing positive for COVID.

If your symptoms are mild, you might be tempted to continue working (remotely) on your infection and get back to your regular exercise routine quickly so you don’t lose your fitness.

But even though we’re used to bouncing back quickly from other viruses, we need to be more careful with COVID. Besides the risk of transmission, overexertion can exacerbate and prolong your COVID symptoms.

Pushing too hard can set you back

Clinical guidelines recommend getting enough rest when you are diagnosed with COVID. Pushing yourself too hard too soon during your recovery from your initial COVID infection can set back your progress.

While about four in five people with COVID have mild illness and recover within a month, for others it can take up to a few months or even longer.

When people have symptoms such as fatigue and/or shortness of breath for three months or more, it is called long COVID. Up to 89% of people with long-term COVID experience post-exertional malaise, where excessive physical or mental activity exacerbates symptoms such as fatigue and causes new symptoms such as pain and anxiety .

You have therefore tested positive for COVID. How do you know if you are well enough to resume your usual routine?

Here are five tips:

1) Take your time

If you feel sick, use your paid vacation rights, if you have any, even if it’s for a day or two to unwind and relax.

Although it may be tempting to return to work soon after COVID, avoid going to the workplace for at least seven days if you work in a high-risk environment such as health, disability and care. the elderly. For other workers, it’s a good idea to self-isolate until your symptoms resolve.

Read more: How to manage COVID without rules? Continue testing and stay home when you test positive

If you feel tired but want to get back to work, you may be able to start with half days or work a few hours and then increase your usual workload.

2) Pace, plan and prioritize

Pacing, planning and prioritizing are important while you are still showing symptoms of COVID:

  • pace yourself by breaking activities down into smaller, more manageable tasks with rest in between

  • plan your activities in advance

  • prioritize what you need to do over what you would like to do.

Two women sitting on a bench, sipping water
If you are recovering from COVID, take your time.
Pexels/Sarah Chai

If you are experiencing fatigue while recovering from COVID, a referral to an occupational therapist or physical therapist may provide other strategies for managing this symptom.

3) Wait until you have no symptoms for 7 days to exercise

You might feel ready to start exercising after your symptoms resolve, but to avoid overexertion, it’s important to wait until you’ve been symptom-free from COVID for at least seven days.

Start with light-intensity exercise — where you can breathe easily, carry on a conversation, and feel like you can sustain the activity for hours — for 10-15 minutes to start.

Only exercise again if you feel recovered from the previous day’s exercise, with no new or worsening symptoms such as fatigue and pain.

Read more: Getting back into fitness after a COVID infection can be tough. Here are 5 things to keep in mind before you start exercising again

4) Ask for help

If you are experiencing more significant COVID symptoms, consider reaching out to friends and family. They may be eligible for paid caregiver leave or even two days of unpaid caregiver leave for casual workers if they have to care for someone with COVID.

If you’re struggling to manage your health and other financial pressures, contact your financial institution to discuss payment plans.

If you work in a high-risk environment such as health, disability and elderly care, you may also be eligible for additional government support to help you through the period when you cannot work due to the COVID.

the man is sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hand
Ask your family and friends for help if you are having difficulty.
Pexels/Andrew Neel

5) Know when to see your health care provider

If you are over 70 (or over 50 with additional risks, or if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander over 30 with additional risks), talk to your GP about medicines antivirals as soon as you test positive for COVID. Antivirals reduce your risk of severe COVID requiring hospitalization and are ideally taken within five days of diagnosis.

If you’re managing COVID at home, use a symptom checker to see if you need medical advice for your condition.

Read more: 6 steps to make a COVID plan, before you get sick

If you have ongoing symptoms after your initial COVID infection, schedule an appointment with your doctor to monitor your condition and refer you to other healthcare professionals as needed to help manage symptoms.

Although there are currently no medications to treat COVID symptoms such as fatigue, exercise-based healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists, can set you up with an exercise program and do it. progress accordingly to reduce fatigue and help with shortness of breath.

Mahatma Gandhi was right when he said “good health is real wealth”, so be kind to yourself when recovering from COVID.

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