The current global pandemic has bought an unprecedented focus on post-viral fatigue with many people seeking support for ‘long-COVID’. See today’s news: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-57584295
COVID-19 has shone a light on the relatively poor state of the health of our nation. Those severely affected by COVID-19 have comprised some of the most vulnerable members of the population, often with the poorest nutritional health. Implementing nutritional management strategies has been recognised as crucial for hospitalised patients, particularly those in intensive care or older people and those with multi-morbidities (Barazzoni et al, 2020).
The prevalence of long-COVID has implications for long-term sickness absence, though there have been little published studies of rates and duration of sickness absence due to long-COVID. An patient-led survey identified 22% of 3762 people remained off sick 7 months after infection, and 45% working to reduced capacity (Raynor and Campbell, 2021).
At healthcare rm we are seeing an increase of employees presenting with symptoms of long-COVID, and unable to provide regular and reliable service to their employer due to the long-term effects of COVID; their main symptoms being fatigue, but can more done about it than we think?
Recent research suggests that individuals managing or recovering from COVID-19 symptoms should receive nutrition support on how to optimise dietary intake and, where poor appetite prevails, maintain an adequate intake of calories, protein and fluids (Di Filippo et al, 2020).
It has also become clear that a diet high in saturated fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates (collectively called the ‘Western Diet’) worldwide can contribute to a higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes which increases the risk of severe COVID-19 related symptoms. Furthermore, COVID-19 can have an inflammatory effect on the body, thus impairing the immune system, and this can be heightened through an unhealthy diet. Therefore, perhaps now more than ever, wider understanding of, and access to, healthy foods should be a top priority and individuals should be educated about healthy eating habits to reduce susceptibility to long-term implications from COVID-19.
At healthcare rm, we are supporting employees suffering with the aftermath of COVID through education on optimal sleep, building up activity levels in a graded capacity and combatting fatigue and boosting immune health through dietary intervention.